Women’s advocacy groups are eagerly waiting to see how many domestic violence-related bills California Governor Jerry Brown will sign. There are more than 20 on his desk. But several important measures have already gone into effect.
In January two laws took affect that advocates say will help abuse survivors. One expands who can be charged with felony domestic violence. Another prohibits employers from retaliating against or firing victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Krista Niemczyk is with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. She says the recently signed paid sick days law also includes a provision related to domestic violence.
“In California domestic violence survivors already have the right to take job-protected time off if they need to go to court or go to counseling," she says. "And this bill allows these new paid sick days to be used for that time off.”
Niemczyk says, while the legislation is positive, there have been some negative developments in the state. She says domestic violence-related homicides have risen since reaching a recent low in 2008. In 2012, Niemczyk says there were 147.
Niemczyk says the state also provides about $21 million a year from its General Fund for domestic violence shelters. Though she says other funding sources are decreasing.
Nationally it’s estimated one in four women will experience domestic violence.