California is one step away from extending the statute of limitations to five years on domestic violence reports.
What is it?
SB 273 generally expands protections and procedures for victims of domestic violence. Under current law, victims have a year to report their spouse for domestic violence to law enforcement for action against them. Under the new bill the statute of limitations would go up by four years, guaranteeing five years. The bill originally had 20 years listed, but was changed to 5 in committee over worries of it not passing with 20.
Law enforcement would also be affected. Under SB 273, the accuser and the accused would be interviewed in separate places to lessen the chance of intimidation. Deescalation techniques and a standardized set of questions would also be implemented by law enforcement handling these cases.
In addition, officers would be trained on recognizing the signs of domestic violence, and at least two consultants would be needed on cases under the bill.
Who Backed It?
The author of the bill was Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park). Senator Rubio has been a supporter of more domestic violence victim protections since she was elected.
Senator Rubio also has a personal connection to the issue, as she was abused for several years by her then-husband former Assemblyman Roger Hernandez. She would regularly cover up abuse she received from him out of fear, and was afraid to contact the police.
“When my story broke, so many women decided that they wanted to tell their stories to me, hundreds of them,” said Rubio of her experience. “One of the things that I found was common in all of the stories that were told to me is that that there is a deep-rooted trauma and paralyzing fear that comes from their experience. And some of them take years to overcome.”
The bill has also received support from domestic violence survivors organizations and has received unanimous support in both the Assembly and the Senate.
SB 273 has been passing with unanimous, bipartisan support since being introduced this year. There were some worries early on that the statute of limitations on the original bill was too long, but after the change, almost all opposition disappeared. There are still some against the bill, most notably the ACLU, but it has had little effect.
Final votes in the Assembly and the Senate were at 78-0 and 40-0 respectively.
SB 273 is up for signing into law by the Governor. It is not expected to receive a veto.