Attorney General Lockyer's Task Force on Domestic Violence Holds Final Hearing in Sacramento
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer's Task Force on Local Criminal Justice Response to Domestic Violence today in Sacramento held its sixth and final regional hearing on local policies and programs related to domestic violence.
"California leads the nation in its efforts to stop the cycle of domestic violence, yet we still have too many cases of domestic violence," Lockyer said. "These regional hearings have given us valuable feedback on what is happening on the local level. The task force will work to standardize and strengthen local practices so we can stop the violence in our homes."
During the hearing, testimony and public comments were taken on four issues: How domestic violence restraining orders are obtained and enforced; how law enforcement agencies respond to mandated reports of domestic violence by health care practitioners; how courts, probation and batterer intervention programs hold batterers accountable; and how prosecutors' offices handle misdemeanor domestic violence cases.
The task force has been meeting throughout the state since December 2003 to examine how well local criminal justice agencies respond to and deal with domestic violence issues, identify strategies that work well and determine how to improve efforts to protect and prevent family violence. Among those scheduled to testify today were experts from criminal justice agencies, the medical field and victim-advocacy groups from Sacramento, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, San Joaquin and Sutter counties.
Lockyer's decision to appoint the task force was prompted in part by the findings of a study he and Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, commissioned to determine the effectiveness of laws and practices aimed at reducing domestic violence. Published in June 2003, the 51-page Senate Office of Research report showed that while California has taken critical steps to protect domestic violence victims, a comprehensive assessment of those efforts is still needed.
The 26-member task force is composed of representatives of local and state law enforcement agencies, probation officers, prosecutors, public defenders, judges, domestic violence victims' advocates and public health officials. The task force will submit a report to the Attorney General describing current practices, identifying critical needs, highlighting successful approaches and proposing possible legislative changes.
Domestic violence statistics collected by Lockyer's Department of Justice show California local law enforcement agencies received 194,288 domestic violence-related calls for assistance in 2003. During that same year, there were 182 murders committed as a result of intimate partner violence and 48,854 juveniles and adults were arrested for spousal abuse under Penal Code section 273.5.
Additional information about the Attorney General's efforts to combat domestic violence is available at the Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center web site at www.safestate.org. A list of the task force members may be viewed at www.safestate.org/index.cfm?navid=386