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California could increase amount of time domestic violence victims have to report crimes

Posted at 6:56 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 21:56:35-04

California is closer to extending the statute of limitations for victims of domestic violence to five years.

According to Jan Campbell, Executive Director of Domestic Violence Solutions in Santa Barbara County, the majority of victims don't report crimes due to fear.

"It takes quite a while for people to get over that and I would say more than a year, oftentimes, unless they are very, very concerned or injured and concerned about their personal safety," Campbell said.

According to Deputy District Attorney Catherine Pringle, the proposed bill, SB 273, deals with penal code 273.5, which can be a felony or misdemeanor based on the severity of the case.

Under current California law, victims have one year to report misdemeanor crimes and three years for felony crimes.

"I think any law, any legislation we see that enhances victims' rights is a step in the right direction," Pringle said.

The bill would also change the way law enforcement officers respond and handle domestic violence situations.

"More training on how to respond to calls of domestic violence, to separate the perpetrator from the victim while they are conducting interviews, etc," Pringle said. "The language is pretty specific."

According to Campbell, Domestic Violence Solutions handled about 4,200 crisis line calls in 2018.

If the bill is signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, it would be applied to crimes after January 1, 2020.