AB 1497 – Legal Remedies for Survivors of Violence

What is this bill about?

AB 1497 (Haney) seeks to ensure that survivors of violence – particularly Black and brown women, youth, queer, or transgender victims – have access to legal remedies that open up pathways to healing and a fresh start for them and their families.

How does it align with yli’s values?

yli partners with thousands of youth across the state, the majority of whom are low-income youth of color. Gender-based violence – including domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual violence – impacts all communities, but Black, brown, and indigenous women and queer and trans people are disproportionately impacted. Too often, victims and survivors of violence are blocked from the opportunity to heal because their trauma is used against them, ignored, or not accounted for during legal proceedings.

AB 1497 will guarantee that survivors have a chance for their experiences to be heard during legal proceedings as well as a chance to rebuild their lives. Specifically, this bill would: 

  • Prevent the unjust conviction of victims who survived contexts of abuse, coercion, and exploitation through an expanded affirmative defense. 
  • Allow judges and jurors to consider an individual’s relevant mental health diagnosis and treatment in more cases, broadening key decision-makers’ understanding of each individual and their unique circumstances. 
  • Permit judges to consider survivors’ experiences when making sentencing decisions, allowing for the opportunity for healing and family reunification.
  • Ensure that no survivors of abuse, coercion, and exploitation are excluded from forms of post-conviction relief that allow survivors a fresh start including access to employment, housing, education, and other opportunities.

This policy aligns with our Gender Justice Platform, which addresses the intersecting impacts of both gender-based violence and of the carceral system on communities of color.

What is yli doing about it?

We have just submitted a letter endorsing this bill, and we are showing our support on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Who is sponsoring this bill?

    • California Coalition for Women Prisoners
    • California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
    • Californians for Safety and Justice
    • Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice
    • Free to Thrive
    • National Center for Youth Law
    • Rainbow Services, Ltd.
    • San Francisco Public Defender’s Office
    • Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition
    • Survived & Punished

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