The Partnership develops its annual policy priorities through discussions with its membership. Our priorities include both legislative changes and systems change efforts to strengthen responses to domestic violence, protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. In addition to our identified priorities, the Partnership actively supports and opposes many bills each year. Click here for information about all of the bills the Partnership is tracking.
Systems Change Priorities
Federal Policy Priorities
The Partnership's Position on Firearms Legislation (new)
- Update - As the federally recognized State Domestic Violence Coalition, we recognize that domestic violence and gun violence are not tangentially related policy concerns, they are interwoven issues. Abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners. Guns are used to intimidate, threaten, and harm victims.The intersection of intimate partner abuse and gun violence is particularly lethal: domestic violence victims residing in a house with firearms are five times more likely to be killed than victims living in gun-free homes. Guns are used in over half of all domestic violence homicides – more than all other weapons combined.Under existing law, those convicted of qualifying domestic violence offenses, or subject to a current domestic violence restraining order, are barred from possessing a firearm. In fact, domestic violence misdemeanor convictions and restraining orders were the second most common reason for denials of handgun purchase applications between 1994 and 1998. Despite this ban, a convicted batterer can currently purchase a firearm at a gun show or through a private sale without submitting to a background check. This loophole puts victims at risk. Given the deadly intersection of domestic violence and firearms, the Partnership supports any sensible legislation that will increase public safety. The Partnership urges the California legislature to keep in mind the safety of domestic violence victims when deliberating on specific firearms legislation.
- Safeguard state funding for local domestic violence shelters - State funding is an essential component of shelter budgets, and must be sustained so that shelters can meet their communities’ needs for victim services. The Partnership will continue its advocacy to ensure that the state budget maintains critically needed funding for domestic violence shelters.
- Ensure state and federal funding proposals support victim services - Recognizing the critical need for victim services funding, the Partnership will continue to engage on all funding proposals to ensure that they address the needs of programs. In addition to shelter funding through the state General Fund, the Partnership will advocate for sustained federal funding and will provide input to all funding bills related to victim services.
- AB 139 (Holden): Improve the collection and distribution of Domestic Violence Probationer Fees - Courts and counties have been inconsistent in their collection and distribution of fees charged to offenders convicted of domestic violence. As these fees ultimately go to local domestic violence shelters, these inconsistencies have led to a significant reduction in available funding for domestic violence victims, and reduced accountability for individuals convicted of a domestic violence crime. The Partnership is sponsoring AB 139 (Holden) to improve the collection and distribution of these fees. Fact sheet.
- AB 16 (Perez): Close the loophole in the felony domestic violence statute - California’s felony domestic violence statute currently does not include dating partners or fiancés, leaving a significant number of victims without protection through this statute. The Partnership supports AB 16 (Perez) to close this loophole, ensuring all victims are protected and bringing the included relationships in line with the misdemeanor statute. Fact sheet.
- SB 612 (Leno): Expand permitted documentation for survivor’s early lease termination - For some domestic violence victims, the ability to relocate and terminate a lease with limited liability can be an essential safety measure. Current law provides this protection, but requires victims to provide a police report or restraining order as valid documentation. The Partnership recognizes that the limited allowable documentation is too narrow and leaves out victims who choose not to pursue a criminal justice response. The Partnership is co-sponsoring SB 612 along with the National Housing Law Project, to expand the list of permitted documentation to ensure that all survivors have access to this safety measure. Fact sheet.
- SB 400 (Jackson): Protect the employment rights of victims - Domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking often impeded the ability of victims to maintain employment. The ability to retain a job and become economically independent is vital for escaping a violent environment and becoming self-sufficient. The Partnership is co-sponsoring SB 400 along with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) to protect survivors from termination or discrimination because of their known status as a survivor, and to ensure that employers provide survivors with reasonable safety accommodations. Fact sheet.
Systems Change Priorities
- Address language and court access issues for survivors - The court system plays a critical role in keeping survivors safe, and the court budget cuts and reductions in services and hours have made access to the system increasingly difficult. Additionally, many survivors have limited English proficiency. The lack of interpretation when interacting with law enforcement and throughout court proceedings, including custody and divorce cases, puts survivors’ safety at risk. The Partnership will monitor and respond to issues of language and court access that impact survivors.
- Increase safety for immigrant survivors of domestic violence - The Partnership recognizes the overwhelming number of survivors who are faced with immigration issues, and will continue to take action on the connections between immigration and domestic violence. The Partnership works to address the unique needs of these survivors and the ways in which existing systems hinder the safety, needs, and autonomy of survivors who are immigrants by facilitating dialogue, engaging in research, and creating and distributing educational resources for both advocates and immigrant survivors in our communities.
- Improve local level teen dating violence policies within school districts - The Partnership works not only to respond to and prevent teen dating violence among youth, but also sees it as a priority strategy for preventing future adult domestic violence in California. This year the Partnership will focus on strengthening local capacity and developing local policies and institutional practices to promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence.
- Strengthen accountability of California Batterer Intervention Programs - Batterer Intervention Programs are an important piece of our systems’ response to domestic violence, and are critical to holding perpetrators accountable. However, there is inconsistent oversight and accountability for these programs. The Partnership will work to address these issues to strengthen accountability.
Federal Policy Priorities
The Partnership works closely with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) on federal advocacy efforts, including advocating for sustained federal funding for domestic violence programs. Every year, representatives from the Partnership travel to Washington, DC to ensure that the needs of programs and victims are heard in Congress. You can visit NNEDV’s website for more information about federal policies that impact survivors.
In addition, the Partnership advocates for sustained federal funding for domestic violence programs. Every year, representatives from the Partnership travel to Washington, DC to ensure that the needs of programs and victims are heard in Congress. You can visit NNEDV’s website for more information about federal policies that impact survivors.
Look up your elected officials, find out about bills related to domestic violence, take action on current legislative issues.
Engaging all of our members in advocacy efforts is essential to our success. The decisions made in Sacramento and Washington DC directly impact programs and victims, and legislators need to hear from you. The following tools and resources will help you effectively engage in policy efforts.
- Interested in doing more? Find out about our Public Policy and Research Committees.
- Find additional policy information and Partnership publications.
- Know the rules for non-profits engaging in advocacy work. The Alliance for Justice has helpful information.
- Understand the legislative process in Sacramento and Washington, DC.