Violence & Justice

California Laws Don’t Prevent Minors from Marrying Adults

In California, a person under 18 can marry with the consent of one parent and a judge. The state is one of only nine in the nation that do not set a minimum age for marriage.

People married as children or teens are more likely to experience domestic violence, contract sexually transmitted infections, have early pregnancies, and end up divorced, research shows. Marriage under 18 also contradicts age of consent laws in many states.

The Promise and Limits of Restorative Justice for Youth

Restorative justice is now a standard offering across the U.S., increasingly relied upon by schools and law enforcement to divert low-level juvenile offenders away from the criminal justice system.

But critics and proponents of restorative justice agree the methods have clear limitations, including this central shortcoming: the techniques only work when a perpetrator admits guilt, and wants to participate.

The Pandemic Spurred a Domestic Violence Epidemic. It’s Not Over Yet.

Since the pandemic began, California organizations that serve domestic violence survivors report getting more requests for help than ever before and hearing more stories of extreme abuse.

Rather than diminish, this trend has persisted as society reopens and survivors feel better able to seek help because they’re no longer trapped at home or worried about getting the virus, advocates said.

Taking a Stand: How Teens Are Working to End Relationship Violence

Hundreds of young people across California are sparking conversations in their schools and communities about what healthy relationships should look like and how to recognize abusive behaviors. The California Health Report spoke with six of these youths about their activism and the experiences that motivate them.

All the youths we interviewed saw an urgent need to help more young people recognize abusive behaviors in themselves and others.

Mike Duncan, the founder of Native Dads Network, sits on a bench.

To Counter Domestic Violence, Some Native Americans Embrace Tradition

Mike Duncan is founder of Native Dads Network, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that runs workshops on healthy parenting and relationships. The workshops draw on traditional Indigenous teachings about the value of life, the role of parents and the sacredness of women.

The network is one of a growing number of programs across the state that seek to address high rates of domestic violence in many Tribal communities by using Native American people’s own traditions and history as a guide.

Cat Brooks, executive director of Justice Teams Network, a coalition of organizations dedicated to eradicating state violence, sits outside her home in Oakland, Calif. At 19, Brooks was severely beaten by her husband but when the police intervened, Brooks was taken to jail rather than her husband. Martin do Nascimento / Resolve Magazine

Alternatives to Calling the Police for Domestic Violence Survivors

If involving the police and criminal justice system isn’t a safe, reliable option for most survivors, why is it offered as the main pathway for seeking help? A majority of survivors who called the police on their abusers later concluded that police involvement was unhelpful at best, and at worst made them feel less safe.

The conversation has gained new urgency amidst the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and calls to reevaluate the scope of police funding and responsibilities.

How Colleges Are Supporting Students Leaving Abusive Relationships

Relationship violence threatens not only students’ physical safety and emotional well-being, but also their academic prospects. Some campuses are finding solutions to help keep survivors in school.

Federal law requires schools and universities that receive government funding to prevent gender-based violence and harassment, and address the needs of survivors so they can continue their education. Survivors have the right to special accommodations such as extra time to complete their school work.

A mother hugging her child.

For Survivors of Violence and Their Kids, a Push to Prioritize Housing

Domestic violence, the leading cause of homelessness among women and children, is increasing during the pandemic, but a way for survivors to get “housing first” is a bright light.

While people from all socioeconomic backgrounds experience domestic violence, low-income survivors and immigrant women are especially at risk of becoming homeless due to lack of resources.

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