Advocates for women’s and children’s rights say providing free or low-cost access to transcripts in hearings is key to equal justice. Unlike many states, California has in recent years repeatedly failed to guarantee adequate documentations of court proceedings, putting victims of domestic violence at a distinct legal disadvantage.
Despite failing for years to make transcripts standard practice, the Legislature may be headed for a breakthrough.
Two children who were violently removed from their grandmother’s Santa Cruz home in October 2022 and placed into a court-ordered program to recant parental abuse allegations celebrated a victory last month when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill prohibiting such programs.
On Oct. 13, Maya, 16, and Sebastian Laing, 12, and their allies celebrated the passage of Senate Bill 331, aka Piqui’s Law, which prohibits California family court judges from forcing kids into so-called reunification camps and ensures that judges and those serving as expert witnesses undergo critical training on domestic violence and child custody.
California’s Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday night unanimously endorsed a bill that would require what children’s advocates describe as crucial reforms to ensure children are safe amid contentious custody proceedings.
The high-profile murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko more than 12 years ago showed just how ineffective the city was at dealing with domestic violence cases, spurring an investigation of the city’s enforcement of domestic violence policy. Now the state Supreme Court has reinstated the second-degree murder conviction of her ex-boyfriend.
Some cases were not referred immediately to Special Victims Unit
This story appeared in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
Nine months after the San Francisco Police Department fully implemented a new digitized case management system, inspectors were still finding as many as 20 domestic violence cases per month that were not immediately referred to the Special Victims Unit for investigation, said a lieutenant in charge of the domestic violence team.
Supervisor Eric Mar Monday unveiled new efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence. Working with the Department on the Status of Women, Mar focused on working through the city’s workforce to educate the public and to help those city employees who are victims themselves.
Orchid Pusey, interim director of the Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco, says cultural differences can have a big influence on the attitudes and responses to domestic violence. She talked with San Francisco Public Press reporter Ruth Tam about the challenges facing service providers in the city. This story appeared as part of a special report on domestic violence in the Fall 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
As the city’s Ethics Commission debated whether Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was fit to hold his elected position this past June, the complex game of personality, politics and procedure eclipsed larger policy questions about the city’s approach to handling thousands of cases of domestic violence each year. But advocates for victims said the hearings generated wider awareness of the problem of domestic violence.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said he is looking into why office’s prosecutions for domestic violence crimes was the lowest per capita in the Bay Area. His remarks came after a special report in the San Francisco Public Press on the handling of such cases by police and prosecutors.
Far fewer charged than across the region, even with strongly worded ‘no-drop’ guidelines
Though San Francisco’s so-called “no-drop” policy requires pressing domestic violence charges when evidence is sufficient to convict, the District Attorney’s Office pursued just 28 percent of cases through to trial or plea bargaining over the last 6 years. This story appeared as part of a special report on domestic violence in the Fall 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
An illustrated account of one domestic violence survivor’s story of abuse and rescue in San Francisco, which appears in the Fall 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press. Dan Archer did the illustration and reporting, with reporting and research help by Ruth Tam.