Week of June 30th
Domestic violence victims won’t have to testify under new law
July 1st was a landmark day for California’s domestic violence victims and their families: Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1356 (Yee) into law. Under current law, a domestic violence victim can be held in contempt of court and be incarcerated by a judge for refusing to testify against her batterer.
SB 1356will prevent judges from jailing domestic violence victims who refuse to testify against their abuser, giving those victims a protection similar to that already afforded to victims of sexual assault.”
The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, sponsored SB 1356. Nearly, 1/3 of CALCASA’s member agencies provide domestic violence services and CALCASA strongly supports this incredibly important legislation on behalf of our sister coalition and members.
Click here for more details.

NY considers help to victims of child prostitution
ALBANY, N.Y. – Tiffany was 12 when her mother died. That was the same year she ran away from her sister’s house, lived on the streets for six weeks and met the man who two days later became her pimp.
Under New York state law, girls like Tiffany could be prosecuted for breaking the law. But a new bill Gov. David Paterson is reviewing would help child prostitutes avoid harsh prosecution. They would be treated as victims and get services to help escape exploitation in the sex trade.
“As a young girl, when you’re under the age of 17, you cannot consent to sex, and you’re forced to have sex with someone for money – I feel like that’s statutory rape,” said Tiffany, who asked that her last name not be used because she was a victim of sexual violence.
Tracking registered sex offenders
In his off time, San Jose police officer Bill Hoyt enjoys hiking, mountain biking and hunting for ex-con sex offenders.
Hoyt’s biweekly “hunting” trips are part of a unique national program that pays off-duty cops to do house checks on registered sex offenders. Specially trained patrol officers are paid through a $250,000 federal grant to work extra shifts making sure offenders are indeed living where they are registered to live under Megan’s Law.
The program, HALO (Heightening Awareness Locating Offenders), is being watched closely by law enforcement agencies all over the country struggling to keep tabs on the hundreds of thousands of pedophiles and rapists who have served their time and now live among us.
Lost promise for rape victims
I spent a recent morning at the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, where women (and men and children) get emergency medical care and counseling immediately after they have been raped. I was researching how the center’s nurse practitioners collect evidence for a “rape kit.”