Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims is Signed into Law
SACRAMENTO – Earlier this year, Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) partnered with Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy E. O’Malley, to introduce a bill to clarify ambiguity on the role emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have in responding to domestic violence.
“EMTs are often the first individuals that victims of domestic violence come into contact with. As mandated reporters, they can be the critical link in ensuring that victims are removed from a dangerous situation. I was shocked to learn earlier this year, that Alameda County Counsel determined statute was vague is outlining the role EMTs play in responding to domestic violence calls,” explained Assemblymember Quirk.
AB 1973 makes a technical, but important change, to the Penal Code to clarify that EMTs are in fact mandated reporters.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office recently implemented a “Lethality Assessment Program” (LAP) consisting of 5 questions that first responders ask to identify if a victim is at high risk of escalating domestic violence. While extending training to Alameda County EMTs and Paramedics, Alameda County Counsel interpreted statute to mean that they are not mandated reporters.
“I thank Governor Brown for signing AB 1973 and Assemblymember Quirk for his leadership in authoring this important legislation. AB 1973 makes clear that emergency medical service workers are mandated reporters for domestic violence. This clarification will enable and empower these first responders to make a report, a proactive step vital to preventing further abuse and escalating violence. I believe this bill will save lives,” said District Attorney O’Malley.
“The signing of AB 1973 makes clear that EMTs are mandated reporters for domestic violence. Further, it continues to reflect the important role EMTs have always played in reporting domestic violence and protecting victims from escalating violence. I am glad to have been able to partner with District Attorney O’Malley on this bill that will have a powerful impact across the state,” concluded Assemblymember Quirk upon learning his bill was signed.
AB 1973 goes into effect January 1, 2019.