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New Law Modernizes Domestic Violence Hotline

 Posted on September 09, 2021 in Criminal Defense

california defense lawyerGov. Gavin Newsom signed a measure expanding California’s emergency services so that victims of domestic violence can now contact local domestic violence centers via text and chat. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 689, dubbed the Comprehensive Statewide Domestic Violence Program, without comment last month alongside a host of other bills. 

Assembly Bill 689 Background

Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, a Democrat from Laguna Beach who filed the bill in February, said “these additional tools and technologies will give survivors more ways to get help when they desperately need it.” She explained the technical services were needed because cases of domestic violence have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the bill’s summary, the pandemic has resulted in increased levels of isolation, job loss, and stress, all of which are often factors in domestic violence cases. Additionally, the pandemic has also forced police stations to close their reception areas out of fear of spreading disease, which further limits safe spaces for domestic violence victims. Therefore, victims turn to shelters and this increase in demand has caused a financial strain on those same shelters. 

In support of the legislation, the organization Women Escaping A Violent Environment, or WEAVE, argued that many victims are afraid of calling the police on their abuser. They consider crisis response services to be a better alternative. 

“Text-based services like computer chat and secure text messaging offer alternative ways for victims to reach out for support, even when a phone call may not be safe,” the group said and added that the legislation would provide financial assistance, so such communication channels could be made available. 

By modernizing the technology, Petrie-Norris said domestic violence centers will not just be better equipped to serve victims, but also improve their ability to track and collect data on domestic abuse. 

What The New Law Does

According to the bill’s text, the new law will require the Office of Emergency Services to provide financial and technical assistance to local domestic violence centers, so they can implement 24-hour crisis communication systems. In addition to 24-hour phone services, victims may contact the center via text messaging, computer chat, or other means approved by the office. 

Contact a Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence, contact an experienced Santa Clara domestic violence lawyer for help. Cory Fuller has been offering his legal services to Santa Clara for more than 15 years. Contact the Fuller Law Office today for a free consultation. Just call 408-234-7563







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