Florida Senate - 2022                                    SB 1218
       By Senator Bracy
       11-01546-22                                           20221218__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to batterers’ intervention programs;
    3         amending s. 741.325, F.S.; requiring the Department of
    4         Children and Families to certify and monitor specified
    5         batterers’ intervention programs; requiring batterers’
    6         intervention programs to satisfy specified
    7         requirements for certification by the department;
    8         requiring programs to have certain safety measures in
    9         place; requiring programs to employ certain measures
   10         to hold batterers accountable for acts of domestic
   11         violence; providing requirements for program
   12         orientation and weekly group sessions; revising
   13         program content requirements; prohibiting programs
   14         from including specified elements and techniques;
   15         prohibiting programs from admitting batterers who have
   16         not paid the user fee, with an exception; requiring
   17         the department to annually review programs for
   18         compliance with certification requirements;
   19         authorizing the department to reject or suspend
   20         certification of a program for failure to comply with
   21         the requirements; requiring the department to annually
   22         provide a list of certified programs and to
   23         immediately notify the courts in this state if it
   24         suspends a program’s certification; requiring the
   25         department to adopt specified rules; amending ss.
   26         741.281, 741.2902, 741.30, 741.31, and 948.038, F.S.;
   27         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   28         providing an effective date.
   30  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   32         Section 1. Section 741.325, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   33  read:
   34         741.325 Certification requirements for batterers’
   35  intervention programs.—
   36         (1) The Department of Children and Families shall certify
   37  and monitor batterers’ intervention programs that provide direct
   38  intervention services to those persons who are adjudged to have
   39  committed an act of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28,
   40  those against whom an injunction for protection against domestic
   41  violence is entered, those referred by the department, and those
   42  who voluntarily attend such programs.
   43         (2)To be certified, a batterers’ intervention program must
   44  meet all of the following requirements:
   45         (a) The primary purpose of the program must shall be victim
   46  safety and the safety of children, if present. Safety measures
   47  must include, but need not be limited to, all of the following:
   48         1.Coordination with the criminal justice system, domestic
   49  violence centers, social service agencies, and state and local
   50  governmental agencies.
   51         2.A requirement that all program personnel undergo a level
   52  2 background screening in accordance with chapter 435.
   53         a.Fees for state and federal fingerprint processing and
   54  retention must be borne by the applicant. The state cost for
   55  fingerprint processing must be as provided in s. 943.053(3)(e)
   56  for records provided to persons or entities other than those
   57  specified as exceptions therein.
   58         b.Fingerprints submitted to the Department of Law
   59  Enforcement pursuant to this paragraph must be retained as
   60  provided in s. 435.12 and, when the Department of Law
   61  Enforcement begins participation in the program, must be
   62  enrolled in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national
   63  retained fingerprint arrest notification program as provided in
   64  s. 943.05(4). Any arrest record identified must be reported to
   65  the department.
   66         3.A prohibition on the employment of perpetrators of
   67  domestic violence as program personnel.
   68         4.Requirements and procedures for victim notification when
   69  a batterer is enrolled in or discharged from the program.
   70         5.Extensive recordkeeping requirements.
   71         6.Written operating policies and manuals.
   72         7.Rigorous facilitator credentialing procedures and
   73  continuing education requirements.
   74         (b) The batterer must shall be held accountable for acts of
   75  domestic violence. The program must include measures that do all
   76  of the following:
   77         1.Assign responsibility to batterers for their acts of
   78  domestic violence.
   79         2.Provide a strategy to assist batterers in taking
   80  responsibility for their acts of domestic violence.
   81         3.Improve batterers’ ability to articulate and identify
   82  emotions.
   83         4.Encourage batterers to develop critical thinking skills
   84  and healthier behavior patterns.
   85         5.Teach batterers the effects domestic violence has on
   86  children.
   87         6.Improve batterers’ negotiation and conflict resolution
   88  skills.
   89         7.Teach batterers communication skills and how to listen
   90  to others with empathy.
   91         8.Challenge batterers’ gender role expectations.
   92         9.Educate batterers on the relationship between substance
   93  abuse and domestic violence.
   94         10.Support the principle that domestic violence is
   95  primarily a learned behavior and is not a natural response to
   96  provocation.
   97         11.Teach batterers how distorted thinking can affect a
   98  person’s emotions and behavior.
   99         (c) The program must shall be at least 29 weeks in length
  100  and include at least 24 weekly group sessions, plus appropriate
  101  intake, assessment, and orientation programming.
  102         1.Orientation sessions must be at least 90 minutes in
  103  length, with breaks at appropriate intervals, and must include
  104  all of the following content:
  105         a.The definition of domestic violence.
  106         b.Statistics related to domestic violence.
  107         c.An explanation of the cycle of abuse and introduction of
  108  the power and control wheel.
  109         d.An overview of the program’s rules and expectations.
  110         e.An introduction to the program’s content, which must
  111  include the dynamics of power and control in domestic violence;
  112  the effects of domestic violence on the victim, children, and
  113  others; and the connection between gender roles, socialization,
  114  and the nature of domestic violence.
  115         2.Each weekly group session must be at least 90 minutes in
  116  length, with breaks at appropriate intervals. A group session
  117  must consist of at least 3 participants and a maximum of 24
  118  participants with 2 facilitators or a maximum of 15 participants
  119  with 1 facilitator. A program may accept new participants into
  120  the weekly group sessions on an ongoing basis. However, programs
  121  must ensure that all participants of a group session are of the
  122  same gender.
  123         3.If a participant in the group session is not fluent in
  124  the English language, at least one facilitator must be able to
  125  translate or effectively communicate in the participant’s native
  126  language. A program may not allow a person who is not affiliated
  127  with the program to serve as an interpreter for a participant
  128  during a group session.
  129         (d) The program content must shall be based on a cognitive
  130  behavioral therapy model or an intervention psychoeducational
  131  model that recognizes the use addresses tactics of power and
  132  control tactics by one person to inflict emotional or physical
  133  abuse on over another. The program content must be submitted to
  134  the department at the time of application for certification for
  135  review of compliance with program standards under this section.
  136  The program content may not include any of the following:
  137         1.Couples, marriage, or family therapy or any technique
  138  that requires victim participation.
  139         2.Anger management techniques that identify anger as the
  140  cause of domestic violence.
  141         3.Identification of poor impulse control as a primary
  142  cause of domestic violence.
  143         4.Identification of psychopathology on the part of the
  144  perpetrator or the victim as a primary cause of domestic
  145  violence.
  146         5.Instruction on fair fighting techniques.
  147         6.Any other content the department deems inappropriate for
  148  the program.
  149         (e) The program must shall be funded by user fees paid by
  150  the batterers who attend the program, which allows them to take
  151  responsibility for their acts of violence. An exception must
  152  shall be made for local, state, or federal programs that fund
  153  batterers’ intervention programs in whole or in part. The
  154  program may not admit a batterer into the program until he or
  155  she has paid the user fee. However, the program may not refuse
  156  to admit a batterer into the program if the batterer has been
  157  deemed indigent by the court and is unable to pay the user fee.
  158         (3)(2) The requirements of this section apply only to
  159  programs that address the perpetration of violence between
  160  intimate partners, spouses, ex-spouses, or those who share a
  161  child in common or who are cohabitants in intimate relationships
  162  for the purpose of exercising power and control by one over the
  163  other. It will endanger victims if courts and other referral
  164  agencies refer family and household members who are not
  165  perpetrators of the type of domestic violence encompassed by
  166  these requirements. Accordingly, the court and others who make
  167  referrals should refer perpetrators only to programming that
  168  appropriately addresses the violence committed.
  169         (4)The department shall annually review certified
  170  batterers’ intervention programs to ensure that they continue to
  171  meet the requirements of this section. The department may reject
  172  or suspend certification of a program if it fails to meet the
  173  requirements of this section.
  174         (5)The department shall annually provide to the courts in
  175  this state a list of certified batterers’ intervention programs
  176  and immediately notify the courts of any suspension of a
  177  certified batterers’ program.
  178         (6)The department shall adopt rules to implement this
  179  section, including, at a minimum, all of the following:
  180         (a)Procedures related to the development of criteria for
  181  the approval, suspension, or rejection of certification of
  182  batterers’ intervention programs.
  183         (b)The programs’ purpose, policies, and standards of care.
  184         (c)The intervention approaches considered appropriate for
  185  use by the programs.
  186         (d)Policies addressing conflicts of interest and ethical
  187  standards.
  188         (e)Curriculum and assessments for the programs.
  189         (f)The qualifications of providers and credentials for
  190  program facilitators, supervisors, and trainees.
  191         (g)The standards for program operations, including
  192  administrative, personnel, and fiscal operations.
  193         (h)Record maintenance and retention policies for victim
  194  and batterer records.
  195         (i)Procedures for educating, evaluating, and referring
  196  program participants for treatment.
  197         Section 2. Section 741.281, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  198  read:
  199         741.281 Court to order batterers’ intervention program
  200  attendance.—If a person is found guilty of, has adjudication
  201  withheld on, or pleads nolo contendere to a crime of domestic
  202  violence, as defined in s. 741.28, that person must shall be
  203  ordered by the court to a minimum term of 1 year’s probation and
  204  the court shall order that the defendant attend and complete a
  205  batterers’ intervention program certified under s. 741.325 as a
  206  condition of probation. The court must impose the condition of
  207  the batterers’ intervention program for a defendant under this
  208  section, but the court, in its discretion, may determine not to
  209  impose the condition if it states on the record why a batterers’
  210  intervention program might be inappropriate. The court must
  211  impose the condition of the batterers’ intervention program for
  212  a defendant placed on probation unless the court determines that
  213  the person does not qualify for the batterers’ intervention
  214  program pursuant to s. 741.325. The imposition of probation
  215  under this section does not preclude the court from imposing any
  216  sentence of imprisonment authorized by s. 775.082.
  217         Section 3. Paragraph (g) of subsection (2) of section
  218  741.2902, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  219         741.2902 Domestic violence; legislative intent with respect
  220  to judiciary’s role.—
  221         (2) It is the intent of the Legislature, with respect to
  222  injunctions for protection against domestic violence, issued
  223  pursuant to s. 741.30, that the court shall:
  224         (g) Consider requiring the perpetrator to complete a
  225  batterers’ intervention program certified under. It is preferred
  226  that such program meet the requirements specified in s. 741.325.
  227         Section 4. Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) and paragraphs
  228  (a) and (e) of subsection (6) of section 741.30, Florida
  229  Statutes, are amended to read:
  230         741.30 Domestic violence; injunction; powers and duties of
  231  court and clerk; petition; notice and hearing; temporary
  232  injunction; issuance of injunction; statewide verification
  233  system; enforcement; public records exemption.—
  234         (3)
  235         (b) The sworn petition shall be in substantially the
  236  following form:
  238                            PETITION FOR                           
  239                      INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION                    
  240                      AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE                    
  242  Before me, the undersigned authority, personally appeared
  243  Petitioner ...(Name)..., who has been sworn and says that the
  244  following statements are true:
  245         (a) Petitioner resides at: ...(address)...
  246         (Petitioner may furnish address to the court in a separate
  247  confidential filing if, for safety reasons, the petitioner
  248  requires the location of the current residence to be
  249  confidential.)
  250         (b) Respondent resides at: ...(last known address)...
  251         (c) Respondent’s last known place of employment: ...(name
  252  of business and address)...
  253         (d) Physical description of respondent:..................
  254         Race........
  255         Sex........
  256         Date of birth........
  257         Height........
  258         Weight........
  259         Eye color........
  260         Hair color........
  261         Distinguishing marks or scars........
  262         (e) Aliases of respondent:...............................
  263         (f) Respondent is the spouse or former spouse of the
  264  petitioner or is any other person related by blood or marriage
  265  to the petitioner or is any other person who is or was residing
  266  within a single dwelling unit with the petitioner, as if a
  267  family, or is a person with whom the petitioner has a child in
  268  common, regardless of whether the petitioner and respondent are
  269  or were married or residing together, as if a family.
  270         (g) The following describes any other cause of action
  271  currently pending between the petitioner and respondent:........
  272  ................................................................
  273         The petitioner should also describe any previous or pending
  274  attempts by the petitioner to obtain an injunction for
  275  protection against domestic violence in this or any other
  276  circuit, and the results of that attempt:.......................
  277  ................................................................
  278  Case numbers should be included if available.
  279         (h) Petitioner is either a victim of domestic violence or
  280  has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger
  281  of becoming a victim of domestic violence because respondent
  282  has: ...(mark all sections that apply and describe in the spaces
  283  below the incidents of violence or threats of violence,
  284  specifying when and where they occurred, including, but not
  285  limited to, locations such as a home, school, place of
  286  employment, or visitation exchange)...
  287         .........................................................
  288         .........................................................
  289         ....committed or threatened to commit domestic violence
  290  defined in s. 741.28, Florida Statutes, as any assault,
  291  aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault,
  292  sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false
  293  imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical
  294  injury or death of one family or household member by another.
  295  With the exception of persons who are parents of a child in
  296  common, the family or household members must be currently
  297  residing or have in the past resided together in the same single
  298  dwelling unit.
  299         ....previously threatened, harassed, stalked, or physically
  300  abused the petitioner.
  301         ....attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or
  302  individuals closely associated with the petitioner.
  303         ....threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the petitioner’s
  304  child or children.
  305         ....intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
  306         ....used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner
  307  any weapons such as guns or knives.
  308         ....physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the
  309  home or calling law enforcement.
  310         ....a criminal history involving violence or the threat of
  311  violence (if known).
  312         ....another order of protection issued against him or her
  313  previously or from another jurisdiction (if known).
  314         ....destroyed personal property, including, but not limited
  315  to, telephones or other communication equipment, clothing, or
  316  other items belonging to the petitioner.
  317         ....engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the
  318  petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe he or she is in
  319  imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
  320         (i) Petitioner alleges the following additional specific
  321  facts: ...(mark appropriate sections)...
  322         ....A minor child or minor children reside with the
  323  petitioner whose names and ages are as follows:	
  325         ....Petitioner needs the exclusive use and possession of
  326  the dwelling that the parties share.
  327         ....Petitioner is unable to obtain safe alternative housing
  328  because:	
  330         ....Petitioner genuinely fears that respondent imminently
  331  will abuse, remove, or hide the minor child or children from
  332  petitioner because:	
  334         (j) Petitioner genuinely fears imminent domestic violence
  335  by respondent.
  336         (k) Petitioner seeks an injunction: ...(mark appropriate
  337  section or sections)...
  338         ....Immediately restraining the respondent from committing
  339  any acts of domestic violence.
  340         ....Restraining the respondent from committing any acts of
  341  domestic violence.
  342         ....Awarding to the petitioner the temporary exclusive use
  343  and possession of the dwelling that the parties share or
  344  excluding the respondent from the residence of the petitioner.
  345         ....Providing a temporary parenting plan, including a
  346  temporary time-sharing schedule, with regard to the minor child
  347  or children of the parties which might involve prohibiting or
  348  limiting time-sharing or requiring that it be supervised by a
  349  third party.
  350         ....Establishing temporary support for the minor child or
  351  children or the petitioner.
  352         ....Directing the respondent to participate in a batterers’
  353  intervention program certified under s. 741.325, Florida
  354  Statutes.
  355         ....Providing any terms the court deems necessary for the
  356  protection of a victim of domestic violence, or any minor
  357  children of the victim, including any injunctions or directives
  358  to law enforcement agencies.
  359         (6)(a) Upon notice and hearing, when it appears to the
  360  court that the petitioner is either the victim of domestic
  361  violence as defined by s. 741.28 or has reasonable cause to
  362  believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of
  363  domestic violence, the court may grant such relief as the court
  364  deems proper, including an injunction:
  365         1. Restraining the respondent from committing any acts of
  366  domestic violence.
  367         2. Awarding to the petitioner the exclusive use and
  368  possession of the dwelling that the parties share or excluding
  369  the respondent from the residence of the petitioner.
  370         3. On the same basis as provided in chapter 61, providing
  371  the petitioner with 100 percent of the time-sharing in a
  372  temporary parenting plan that remains in effect until the order
  373  expires or an order is entered by a court of competent
  374  jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or
  375  proceeding affecting the placement of, access to, parental time
  376  with, adoption of, or parental rights and responsibilities for
  377  the minor child.
  378         4. On the same basis as provided in chapter 61,
  379  establishing temporary support for a minor child or children or
  380  the petitioner. An order of temporary support remains in effect
  381  until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of
  382  competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action
  383  or proceeding affecting child support.
  384         5. Ordering the respondent to participate in treatment,
  385  intervention, or counseling services to be paid for by the
  386  respondent. When the court orders the respondent to participate
  387  in a batterers’ intervention program certified under s. 741.325,
  388  the court, or any entity designated by the court, must provide
  389  the respondent with a list of batterers’ intervention programs
  390  from which the respondent must choose a program in which to
  391  participate.
  392         6. Referring a petitioner to a certified domestic violence
  393  center. The court must provide the petitioner with a list of
  394  certified domestic violence centers in the circuit which the
  395  petitioner may contact.
  396         7. Awarding to the petitioner the exclusive care,
  397  possession, or control of an animal that is owned, possessed,
  398  harbored, kept, or held by the petitioner, the respondent, or a
  399  minor child residing in the residence or household of the
  400  petitioner or respondent. The court may order the respondent to
  401  have no contact with the animal and prohibit the respondent from
  402  taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, harming, or
  403  otherwise disposing of the animal. This subparagraph does not
  404  apply to an animal owned primarily for a bona fide agricultural
  405  purpose, as defined under s. 193.461, or to a service animal, as
  406  defined under s. 413.08, if the respondent is the service
  407  animal’s handler.
  408         8. Ordering such other relief as the court deems necessary
  409  for the protection of a victim of domestic violence, including
  410  injunctions or directives to law enforcement agencies, as
  411  provided in this section.
  412         (e) An injunction for protection against domestic violence
  413  entered under this section, on its face, may order that the
  414  respondent attend a batterers’ intervention program certified
  415  under s. 741.325 as a condition of the injunction. Unless the
  416  court makes written factual findings in its judgment or order
  417  which are based on substantial evidence, stating why batterers’
  418  intervention programs would be inappropriate, the court must
  419  shall order the respondent to attend a batterers’ intervention
  420  program if:
  421         1. It finds that the respondent willfully violated the ex
  422  parte injunction;
  423         2. The respondent, in this state or any other state, has
  424  been convicted of, had adjudication withheld on, or pled nolo
  425  contendere to a crime involving violence or a threat of
  426  violence; or
  427         3. The respondent, in this state or any other state, has
  428  had at any time a prior injunction for protection entered
  429  against the respondent after a hearing with notice.
  430         Section 5. Subsection (5) of section 741.31, Florida
  431  Statutes, is amended to read:
  432         741.31 Violation of an injunction for protection against
  433  domestic violence.—
  434         (5) Whether or not there is a criminal prosecution under
  435  subsection (4), the court shall order the respondent to attend a
  436  batterers’ intervention program certified under s. 741.325 if it
  437  finds a willful violation of a domestic violence injunction,
  438  unless the court makes written factual findings in its judgment
  439  or order which are based on substantial evidence, stating why a
  440  batterers’ intervention program would be inappropriate.
  441         Section 6. Section 948.038, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  442  read:
  443         948.038 Batterers’ intervention program as a condition of
  444  probation, community control, or other court-ordered community
  445  supervision.—As a condition of probation, community control, or
  446  any other court-ordered community supervision, the court shall
  447  order a person convicted of an offense of domestic violence, as
  448  defined in s. 741.28, to attend and successfully complete a
  449  batterers’ intervention program certified under s. 741.325
  450  unless the court determines that the person does not qualify for
  451  the batterers’ intervention program under pursuant to s.
  452  741.325. The offender must pay the cost of attending the
  453  program.
  454         Section 7. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.