Former California State Senator Melissa Melendez, one of the shining sanity beacons in the not-so Golden State’s body politic, tweeted on August 14 that the state legislature is considering a bill eliminating the present requirement of healthcare providers to notify law enforcement when they suspect a patient has, or is, suffering from domestic violence.
The only abuse/injuries they would be required to report are those involving a gun.— Senator Melissa Melendez (@senatormelendez) August 15, 2023
The bill, AB 1028, was introduced in February 2023 by Assemblymember Tina McKinnor. It was co-authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks and everyone’s favorite California politician not named Governor Hair Gel Senator Scott Wiener.
The Legislative Council Digest summary of the bill is astonishing.
Existing law requires a health practitioner, as defined, to make a report to law enforcement when they suspect a patient has suffered physical injury that is inflicted by the person’s own act or inflicted by another where the injury is by means of a firearm, or caused by assaultive or abusive conduct, including elder abuse, sexual assault, or torture. A violation of these provisions is punishable as a misdemeanor.
This bill would, on and after January 1, 2025, remove the requirement that a health practitioner make a report to law enforcement when they suspect a patient has suffered physical injury caused by assaultive or abusive conduct, and instead only require that report if the health practitioner suspects a patient has suffered a wound or physical injury inflicted by the person’s own act or inflicted by another where the injury is by means of a firearm, a wound or physical injury resulting from child abuse, or a wound or physical injury resulting from elder abuse.
The bill would, on and after January 1, 2025, instead require a health practitioner who suspects that a patient has suffered physical injury that is caused by domestic violence, as defined, to, among other things, provide brief counseling, education, or other support, and a warm handoff, as defined, or referral to local and national domestic violence or sexual violence advocacy services, as specified. The bill would, on and after January 1, 2025, specify that a health practitioner is not civilly or criminally liable for any report that is made in good faith and in compliance with these provisions.
Um … wow.
Before anyone assumes this is strictly a case of California gone mad as usual, a recent editorial in favor of the bill — yes, in favor — mentions that California is one of the few states still requiring notification of law enforcement.
Now that we know better and can do better, it’s time to end mandatory police reporting by health providers that, in actuality, prevents the most vulnerable from accessing healthcare, often decreases safety for survivors and wrongly presumes police reporting as the solution to abuse.
Got that, you Neanderthals? Requiring reporting of violence only increases violence when all that is needed to stem the tide is … *checks notes* … “brief counseling or education.” Or, in extreme circumstances, a “warm handoff.” Whatever that means. Apparently, ladies, if the man who broke your nose and blackened your eye brings flowers, it’s all good.
It’s worth noting that one of the editorial cowriters praising the bill, Karen Earl, is co-lead of the Culturally Responsive Domestic Violence Network. Don’t bother looking for their website; the domain has expired. Back when it was in existence, this was their mission statement:
CRDV Network believes that we can end domestic violence through survivor-centered and empowerment-based strategies. We envision a state where all domestic violence prevention and intervention programs are tailored by and for community, and recognizes culture as evolving and dynamic – as a tool that can be used for empowerment as well as violence/oppression.
Right. A stern lecture always stops a man who believes hitting a woman is acceptable.
It’s bad enough that progressives treat the average taxpayer as funding for their pathetic social engineering experiments. But now we are going to treat domestic violence with nothing more than a tsk-tsk? How much do Assemblymembers McKinnor and Wicks hate other women? I’ll skip the Senator Wiener jokes because there’s nothing funny about this. How many women will be injured or worse if this bill passes?
#BelieveAllWomen, but eliminate any penalty for their serving as a punching bag.