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AB-1623 Family justice centers.(2013-2014)

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Assembly Bill No. 1623
CHAPTER 85

An act to add Title 5.3 (commencing with Section 13750) to Part 4 of the Penal Code, relating to family justice centers.

[ Approved by Governor  July 07, 2014. Filed with Secretary of State  July 07, 2014. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1623, Atkins. Family justice centers.
Existing law, until January 1, 2014, authorized the Cities of Anaheim and San Diego, and the Counties of Alameda and Sonoma to establish, as a 2-year pilot project, a multiagency, multidisciplinary family justice center to assist victims of domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, sexual assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, stalking, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and human trafficking, to ensure that victims of abuse are able to access all needed services in one location and to enhance victim safety, increase offender accountability, and improve access to services for victims of crime, as provided. That law permitted the family justice centers to be staffed by law enforcement, medical, social service, and child welfare personnel, among others. That law required each family justice center to consult with community-based crime victim agencies, survivors of violence and abuse, and their advocates in the operations process of the family justice center and to develop a procedure for input, feedback, and evaluation of the family justice center.
This bill would reenact and recast those provisions to authorize, commencing January 1, 2015, any city, county, or community-based nonprofit organization to establish a multiagency, multidisciplinary family justice center to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, and human trafficking, as specified. The bill would also specify additional confidentiality provisions relating to information disclosed by a victim in a family justice center, as provided, and would require each family justice center to maintain a mandatory training for all staff members, volunteers, and agency professionals.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Title 5.3 (commencing with Section 13750) is added to Part 4 of the Penal Code, to read:

TITLE 5.3. Family Justice Centers

13750.
 (a) A city, county, city and county, or community-based nonprofit organization may each establish a multiagency, multidisciplinary family justice center to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, and human trafficking, to ensure that victims of abuse are able to access all needed services in one location in order to enhance victim safety, increase offender accountability, and improve access to services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, and human trafficking.
(b) For purposes of this title, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Abuse” has the same meaning as set forth in Section 6203 of the Family Code.
(2) “Domestic violence” has the same meaning as set forth in Section 6211 of the Family Code.
(3) “Sexual assault” means an act or attempt made punishable by Section 220, 261, 261.5, 262, 264.1, 266c, 269, 285, 286, 288, 288.5, 288a, 289, or 647.6.
(4) “Elder or dependent adult abuse” means an act made punishable by Section 368.
(5) “Human trafficking” has the same meaning as set forth in Section 236.1.
(c) For purposes of this title, family justice centers shall be defined as multiagency, multidisciplinary service centers where public and private agencies assign staff members on a full-time or part-time basis in order to provide services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, or human trafficking from one location in order to reduce the number of times victims must tell their story, reduce the number of places victims must go for help, and increase access to services and support for victims and their children. Staff members at a family justice center may be comprised of, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Law enforcement personnel.
(2) Medical personnel.
(3) District attorneys and city attorneys.
(4) Victim-witness program personnel.
(5) Domestic violence shelter service staff.
(6) Community-based rape crisis, domestic violence, and human trafficking advocates.
(7) Social service agency staff members.
(8) Child welfare agency social workers.
(9) County health department staff.
(10) City or county welfare and public assistance workers.
(11) Nonprofit agency counseling professionals.
(12) Civil legal service providers.
(13) Supervised volunteers from partner agencies.
(14) Other professionals providing services.
(d) Nothing in this section is intended to abrogate existing laws regarding privacy or information sharing. Family justice center staff members shall comply with the laws governing their respective professions.
(e) Victims of crime shall not be denied services on the grounds of criminal history. No criminal history search shall be conducted of a victim at a family justice center without the victim’s written consent unless the criminal history search is pursuant to a criminal investigation.
(f) Victims of crime shall not be required to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to receive counseling, medical care, or other services at a family justice center.
(g) (1) Each family justice center shall consult with community-based domestic violence, sexual assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, and human trafficking agencies in partnership with survivors of violence and abuse and their advocates in the operations process of the family justice center, and shall establish procedures for the ongoing input, feedback, and evaluation of the family justice center by survivors of violence and abuse and community-based crime victim service providers and advocates.
(2) Each family justice center shall develop policies and procedures, in collaboration with local community-based crime victim service providers and local survivors of violence and abuse, to ensure coordinated services are provided to victims and to enhance the safety of victims and professionals at the family justice center who participate in affiliated survivor-centered support or advocacy groups. Each family justice center shall maintain a formal client feedback, complaint, and input process to address client concerns about services provided or the conduct of any family justice center professionals, agency partners, or volunteers providing services in the family justice center.
(h) (1) Each family justice center shall maintain a client consent policy and shall be in compliance with all state and federal laws protecting the confidentiality of the types of information and documents that may be in a victim’s file, including, but not limited to, medical, legal, and victim counselor records. Each family justice center shall have a designated privacy officer to develop and oversee privacy policies and procedures consistent with state and federal privacy laws and the Fair Information Practice Principles promulgated by the United States Department of Homeland Security. At no time shall a victim be required to sign a client consent form to share information in order to access services.
(2) Each family justice center is required to obtain informed, written, reasonably time limited, consent from the victim before sharing information obtained from the victim with any staff member or agency partner, except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4).
(3) A family justice center is not required to obtain consent from the victim before sharing information obtained from the victim with any staff member or agency partner if the person is a mandated reporter, a peace officer, or a member of the prosecution team and is required to report or disclose specific information or incidents. These persons shall inform the victim that they may share information obtained from the victim without the victim’s consent.
(4) Each family justice center is required to inform the victim that information shared with staff members or partner agencies at a family justice center may be shared with law enforcement professionals without the victim’s consent if there is a mandatory duty to report, or the client is a danger to himself or herself, or others. Each family justice center shall obtain written acknowledgment that the victim has been informed of this policy.
(5) Consent by a victim for sharing information within a family justice center pursuant to this section shall not be construed as a universal waiver of any existing evidentiary privilege that makes confidential any communications or documents between the victim and any service provider, including, but not limited to, any lawyer, advocate, sexual assault or domestic violence counselor as defined in Section 1035.2 or 1037.1 of the Evidence Code, human trafficking caseworker as defined in Section 1038.2 of the Evidence Code, therapist, doctor, or nurse. Any oral or written communication or any document authorized by the victim to be shared for the purposes of enhancing safety and providing more effective and efficient services to the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder or dependent adult abuse, or human trafficking shall not be disclosed to any third party, unless that third-party disclosure is authorized by the victim, or required by other state or federal law or by court order.
(i) An individual staff member, volunteer, or agency that has victim information governed by this section shall not be required to disclose that information unless the victim has consented to the disclosure or it is otherwise required by other state or federal law or by court order.
(j) A disclosure of information consented to by the victim in a family justice center, made for the purposes of clinical assessment, risk assessment, safety planning, or service delivery, shall not be deemed a waiver of any privilege or confidentiality provision contained in Sections 2263, 2918, 4982, and 6068 of the Business and Professions Code, the lawyer-client privilege protected by Article 3 (commencing with Section 950) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the physician-patient privilege protected by Article 6 (commencing with Section 990) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the psychotherapist-patient privilege protected by Article 7 (commencing with Section 1010) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the sexual assault counselor-victim privilege protected by Article 8.5 (commencing with Section 1035) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, or the domestic violence counselor-victim privilege protected by Article 8.7 (commencing with Section 1037) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code.

13751.
 Each family justice center established pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 13750 shall maintain a formal training program with mandatory training for all staff members, volunteers, and agency professionals of not less than eight hours per year on subjects, including, but not limited to, privileges and confidentiality, information sharing, risk assessment, safety planning, victim advocacy, and high-risk case response.