Removal Of Jail Threat For Domestic Violence Victims
Posted by familydynamics on June 18, 2008
Under the terms of a bill that passed the California Assembly, domestic violence victims will no longer face jail time for refusing to testify against their alleged abusers in court. Local prosecutors and public defenders said the results of the bill, if signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, could be mixed.
Prosecutors said the ability to jail victims for refusing to testify in domestic violence cases is a rarely-exercised but powerful tool in prosecuting abusers. Proponents of the bill said jailing domestic violence survivors puts them through added trauma.
Under the existing law, a victim who refuses to testify can be held in contempt of court and could face jail time. The courts must first require reluctant victims to attend a domestic violence counseling class or do community service before ordering jail time. Sexual assault victims are already protected from being jailed for refusing to testify against their accused attackers. The bill that passed the California Assembly on Monday would extend the same level of immunity to domestic violence victims.