Senator Rubio’s Bill Expands Legal Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors
SACRAMENTO, CA – Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) has introduced Senate Bill 1141, which will expand legal protections for survivors of domestic violence by criminalizing threats, humiliation, intimidation, and other coercive actions that are used to frighten and control a victim.
SB 1141 makes coercive control a crime punishable by imprisonment in jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000. The bill defines coercive control as the deprivation or violation of the victim’s personal liberty, which can be established through a course of conduct including force, duress, isolation, or economic abuse. Examples of coercive control include controlling a person’s finances; isolating a person from family and friends; and monitoring a person’s day-to-day activities.
“Current domestic violence laws do not reflect how domestic violence is practiced in reality,” Sen. Rubio said. “The new crime of coercive control recognizes that domestic violence encompasses more than just physical abuse. This change protects survivors of domestic violence by making their cases harder to dismiss and easier to prosecute.”
“SB 1141 authored by Sen. Rubio recognizes that domestic violence is not limited to physical violence,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, the bill’s sponsor. “This legislation addresses the very real harm of coercive control and strengthens the State’s protections for domestic violence survivors.”
England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland have had coercive control laws for several years, encouraging changes in how their societies view individual acts of violence as part of a broader pattern of abuse. The unique harms suffered by domestic violence survivors occurs as much from the deprivation of liberty achieved through a pattern of power and control as it does from discrete physical acts of violence.