SB 110: Crime Victims with Disabilities Act
Senator Carol Liu, 21st SD.
As amended March 25, 2009
An Invisible Epidemic
Crime against people with disabilities has been called an "invisible epidemic," comparable to domestic violence before society awakened to the horror and widespread extent of that terrible problem.
Children and elders with disabilities, homeless people with disabilities, and people with disabilities in care, incarceration, and treatment facilities are among those most vulnerable and most often victimized. Women and men with disabilities also are at high risk of sexual assault and domestic violence. Perpetrators are often caregivers. It is unlikely that society would tolerate this level of violent crime against most other victims without demanding much more effective action.
Elders and homeless persons, even those with no disabilities, also are subject to many similar crimes.
Summary: The Crime Victims with Disabilities Act of 2009 takes a variety of steps to prevent and investigate these crimes and to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators. It includes provisions assisting elder and homeless victims, regardless of whether they have disabilities.
Specifics: The bill includes these major provisions:
- Closes a loophole allowing perpetrators of abuse of people with disabilities and elders to move from job to job as caregivers without background checks.
- Makes it explicit that abuse of people with disabilities and elders is a crime; clarifies that law enforcement agencies have jurisdiction, provides for better training of police, prosecutors, rape-crisis counselors, and health-care providers; and, requires the Department of Justice to notify law-enforcement agencies and district attorneys of relevant laws and their legal responsibilities.
- Provides for developing model memoranda of understanding that law enforcement agencies, Adult Protective Services, local long-term care ombudsman programs, and care facilities are strongly encouraged to adopt to ensure cooperation
- Expands the authority of counties' Elder Death Review Teams to include investigating suspicious death of adults with disabilities and adult residents of facilities.
- Makes Adult Protective Services responsible for the abuse of long-term care facility residents that occurs outside of the facilities, not ombudsman programs, which are unequipped to handle them.
- Expands the protocol for examination and treatment of sexual assault victims to include sexual assault victims with disabilities.
- Requires victim and witness assistance programs to cover victims and witnesses with disabilities.
No New Costs or Programs: The bill is drafted to avoid creating any new state or state-mandated local costs or any new programs. If any costs are found in the bill, the author and sponsor are committed to removing them.
Sponsor: The Arc of California, the state's largest organization working to protect Californians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is the sponsor of SB 110.
Do you have questions? Comments?
Would you like to support SB110?
Robert Oakes, Legislative Director
Senator Carol Liu, 21st District