(a) A county may establish an interagency domestic violence death review team to assist local agencies in identifying and reviewing domestic violence deaths, including homicides and suicides, and facilitating communication among the various agencies involved in domestic violence cases. Interagency domestic violence death review teams have been used successfully to ensure that incidents of domestic violence and abuse are recognized and that agency involvement is reviewed to develop recommendations for policies and protocols for community prevention and intervention initiatives to reduce and eradicate the incidence of domestic violence.
(b) For purposes of this section, “abuse” has the meaning set forth in Section 6203 of the Family Code and “domestic violence” has the meaning set forth in Section 6211 of the Family Code.
(c) A county may develop a protocol that may be used as a guideline to assist coroners and other persons who perform autopsies on domestic violence victims in the identification of domestic violence, in the determination of whether domestic violence contributed to death or whether domestic violence had occurred prior to death, but was not the actual cause of death, and in the proper written reporting procedures for domestic violence, including the designation of the cause and mode of death.
(d) County domestic violence death review teams shall be comprised of, but not limited to, the following:
(1) Experts in the field of forensic pathology.
(2) Medical personnel with expertise in domestic violence abuse.
(3) Coroners and medical examiners.
(5) District attorneys and city attorneys.
(6) Domestic violence shelter service staff and battered women’s advocates.
(7) Law enforcement personnel.
(8) Representatives of local agencies that are involved with domestic violence abuse reporting.
(9) County health department staff who deal with domestic violence victims’ health issues.
(10) Representatives of local child abuse agencies.
(11) Local professional associations of persons described in paragraphs (1) to (10), inclusive.
(e) An oral or written communication or a document shared within or produced by a domestic violence death review team related to a domestic violence death review is confidential and not subject to disclosure or discoverable by a third party. An oral or written communication or a document provided by a third party to a domestic violence death review team, or between a third party and a domestic violence death review team, is confidential and not subject to disclosure or discoverable by a third party. Notwithstanding the foregoing, recommendations of a domestic violence death review team upon the completion of a review may be disclosed at the discretion of a majority of the members of the domestic violence death review team.
(f) Each organization represented on a domestic violence death review team may share with other members of the team information in its possession concerning the victim who is the subject of the review or any person who was in contact with the victim and any other information deemed by the organization to be pertinent to the review. Any information shared by an organization with other members of a team is confidential. This provision shall permit the disclosure to members of the team of any information deemed confidential, privileged, or prohibited from disclosure by any other statute.
(g) Written and oral information may be disclosed to a domestic violence death review team established pursuant to this section. The team may make a request in writing for the information sought and any person with information of the kind described in paragraph (2) may rely on the request in determining whether information may be disclosed to the team.
(1) An individual or agency that has information governed by this subdivision shall not be required to disclose information. The intent of this subdivision is to allow the voluntary disclosure of information by the individual or agency that has the information.
(2) The following information may be disclosed pursuant to this subdivision:
(A) Notwithstanding Section 56.10 of the Civil Code, medical information.
(B) Notwithstanding Section 5328 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, mental health information.
(C) Notwithstanding Section 15633.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, information from elder abuse reports and investigations, except the identity of persons who have made reports, which shall not be disclosed.
(D) Notwithstanding Section 11167.5 of the Penal Code, information from child abuse reports and investigations, except the identity of persons who have made reports, which shall not be disclosed.
(E) State summary criminal history information, criminal offender record information, and local summary criminal history information, as defined in Sections 11075, 11105, and 13300 of the Penal Code.
(F) Notwithstanding Section 11163.2 of the Penal Code, information pertaining to reports by health practitioners of persons suffering from physical injuries inflicted by means of a firearm or of persons suffering physical injury where the injury is a result of assaultive or abusive conduct, and information relating to whether a physician referred the person to local domestic violence services as recommended by Section 11161 of the Penal Code.
(G) Notwithstanding Section 827 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, information in any juvenile court proceeding.
(H) Information maintained by the Family Court, including information relating to the Family Conciliation Court Law pursuant to Section 1818 of the Family Code, and Mediation of Custody and Visitation Issues pursuant to Section 3177 of the Family Code.
(I) Information provided to probation officers in the course of the performance of their duties, including, but not limited to, the duty to prepare reports pursuant to Section 1203.10 of the Penal Code, as well as the information on which these reports are based.
(J) Notwithstanding Section 10850 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, records of in-home supportive services, unless disclosure is prohibited by federal law.
(3) The disclosure of written and oral information authorized under this subdivision shall apply notwithstanding Sections 2263, 2918, 4982, and 6068 of the Business and Professions Code, or the lawyer-client privilege protected by Article 3 (commencing with Section 950) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the physician-patient privilege protected by Article 6 (commencing with Section 990) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the psychotherapist-patient privilege protected by Article 7 (commencing with Section 1010) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the sexual assault counselor-victim privilege protected by Article 8.5 (commencing with Section 1035) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, the domestic violence counselor-victim privilege protected by Article 8.7 (commencing with Section 1037) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code, and the human trafficking caseworker-victim privilege protected by Article 8.8 (commencing with Section 1038) of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code.
(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 913, Sec. 27. (AB 2747) Effective January 1, 2015.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018