Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Youth Justice

Justice for Survivors (2024)

AB 2354 (Bonta)

At the heart of our mission is the belief that everyone in California deserves to live without the shadow of trauma and violence, and when faced with such adversity, they should be met with compassion, support, and a pathway to healing, not punishment. 

The sobering truth is that far too often, survivors of intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault are frequently arrested and punished for actions that are a direct result of their exploitation, trauma, and abuse. Whether they are criminalized for their acts of self-defense against their traffickers or sex buyers, or whether they are convicted for acts meant to save their children or other family members, courts often approach these extremely difficult scenarios with criminalization rather than compassion, understanding, and care. These survivors need a system that offers protection and aids in their recovery process, rather than one that further penalizes them without considering the full context of their experiences.

All survivors deserve a chance to rebuild their lives.

AB 2354 (introduced by Assemblywoman Mia Bonta) empowers all survivors of intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and other forms of violence, regardless of their background or the nature of their conviction, to seek justice by petitioning the court to dismiss or vacate sentences that stem from circumstances related to their victimization. This relief critically removes roadblocks to accessing essential resources, such as housing, job training, and employment.
There is a stark and disproportionate impact of gender-based violence and its aftermath on California’s most vulnerable communities.

Black, Brown, immigrant, Indigenous, queer, and transgender individuals are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence. For example, Black women are almost three times more likely than white women to die at the hands of a current or ex-partner. AB 2354 addresses this disparity by providing a pathway to justice for all survivors.

By advocating for AB 2354, we are not only championing a more equitable legal system but also affirming our commitment to healing, justice, and the dignified treatment of all survivors. This is a crucial step toward a future where every individual can heal and thrive, free from the constraints of their past experiences.