Information provided by the Office of Senator Anna Caballero
State Senator Anna Caballero announced this week legislation to further protect victims of domestic violence through Calley’s Law: Domestic Violence Restraining Orders.
The news release shared this tragic story: “Calley, a mother of three young boys under the age of six living in the Senator’s district, left her husband after years of abuse in May 2020, during COVID-19 pandemic. She obtained a domestic violence restraining order and went into hiding with the assistance of a domestic violence support shelter. After three months of evading her husband’s efforts to locate her, Calley made an appointment at a local health clinic. Her husband learned from the clinic the time and location of the appointment. On July 14, 2020, he drove to the clinic, waited for Calley in the parking lot, and when she arrived, shot and killed her as she shielded their three young children from the bullets.”
Caballero said, “I was devastated when I learned of the tragic murder of such a courageous young mother. Even more so upon learning that her death could have been avoided. Calley’s tragedy highlights opportunities in the law that can be strengthened to help survivors of domestic violence. By allowing Judges to evaluate and provide specific orders to protect the information about medical or dental appointments or school enrollment from the abuser, we can provide maximum protection for individuals who flee in fear of their lives, as in Calley’s case.” said Senator Caballero. “We need to honor Calley’s life and ensure that this never happens again to a person fleeing from violence.”
The COVID-19 Stay at Home Order issued in March, 2020 has had the unintended consequence of increasing the number of domestic violence and abuse reports throughout our state, according to the release. Those who make the oftentimes dangerous decision to leave an abusive partner, obtaining a domestic violence restraining order is a vital first step.
Currently a judge can grant a multitude of different orders to provide protections for the abused party in a domestic violence restraining order, yet no options exist to keep school, medical and dental information about the shared children from the abuser, in order to protect the children and the non-putative party. The release noted that if there is no clear language stating otherwise, these 3rd party institutions have no authority to deny a parent their legal right to information.
In order to close this omission on domestic violence restraining order forms, SB 24 edits the order in its current form. This bill seeks to add a separate checkbox that a judge can select to allow the school, medical, and dental information of a child to be protected from an abusive parent. This way, it will be clear which protective order forms have this additional protection and which do not, and 3rd party institutions, such as schools and medical offices, have a clear court order giving them guidance on how to properly enforce these restraining orders.