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Does California’s Mandatory Domestic Violence Reporting Law Go Too Far?

15
Sep

Does California’s Mandatory Domestic Violence Reporting Law Go Too Far?

By Maltaise Cini

Researchers and public safety advocates have long complained that domestic violence injuries are underreported and that often, those who provide medical care to survivors of domestic violence do not report what they have seen or learned. In order to prevent this, California, along with several U.S. states, recently passed a mandatory domestic violence reporting law.

The law requires healthcare providers to report to police if they treat a patient whom they reasonably believe was injured by a firearm, a deadly weapon, or by “assaultive or abusive contact.” Failing to make a report within two days is a misdemeanor, and it carries penalties including a $1,000 fine, six months in jail, or both.

An article in the Western Journal of Medicine, however, questioned whether California’s domestic violence reporting law goes too far in trying to protect those who experience domestic violence. Proponents uphold the law by pointing out that it helps educate patients, prevent further violence, and hold perpetrators responsible for their actions. However, detractors point out that the law doesn’t improve patient care and removes the injured person’s ability to choose who should be told what happened and when. Being unable to control who gets involved may prevent injured people from seeking medical care, even if a domestic dispute had nothing to do with their injuries.

Domestic violence is a highly emotionally charged crime, and those who are charged with it need a clear-headed, experienced attorney fighting on their behalf. If you have been charged with domestic violence in California, Orange County domestic violence defense attorney Maltaise Cini has the resources and experience that is needed to focus on the facts and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. To learn more, call 949-660-1389 for a confidential consultation.