Domestic violence in California is usually associated with conflict between spouses or unmarried couples. These cases often involve physical violence or emotional abuse. When children are involved, however, the consequences of domestic violence can be even worse and are often tragic. Current California law provides substantial protection for adults, but has left children more vulnerable to abuse.
Spurred in part by incidents such as a father punching his 4-month-old infant in the face because the baby was crying, a recent bill that will more adequately protect children recently passed the state senate and will soon be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Once enacted, Senate Bill 910 will provide the same levels of protection to children from abusersthat granted to adults.
The legislature was sponsored by Los Angeles County's district attorney and will plug loopholesin current lawswhen it comes to children and domestic violence, especially when convicted domestic violence offenders are released from jail or prison.
Senator Fran Pavley says that children are often the first targets for revenge when an abuser is released. The new law should provide children with protection without the needs for a restraining order as is currently required.
The new law could also reduce the number of domestic violence cases in California. Deaths from domestic violence incidents account for 12 percent of all homicide cases. Under the current law, victims may only ask the court to issue an order of protection after their attackers are convicted. The new law will allow family members to request a new court order to safeguard children from further domestic abuse.
New laws passed in California have a huge impact on family law by identifying both rights and responsibilities. They provide residents with different options for protecting themselves from domestic abuse, including rights they can exercise in such circumstances.
Source: Signal SCV, "Legislature approves bill to protect children from domestic violence," Aug. 21, 2014