New law provides young sexual abuse victims with mental health help


California law now mandates mental health help for young victims of sexual abuse.

Psychological trauma treatment for victims under 14 years old will be paid for by predators after Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 756 into law.

The bill, which earned bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly, is the first of Senator Henry Stern’s (D-Canoga Park) bills to be signed into law during his freshman legislative season.

“SB 756 will assist kids in getting the help they deserve,” Senator Henry Stern said in a statement. “I applaud Governor Brown for signing this important measure into law.”

Prior to the passage of this bill, there was a loophole in the law that did not allow young victims of sexual assault to get restitution for their mental health services.

There are hundreds of pending cases in Los Angeles County that may be eligible for restitution under this law, according to Stern’s office.

“While SB 756 has been characterized as a small fix, in truth, it represents a huge step for victims’ rights and thousands of child victims,” Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten said in a statement.

The need for this legislation was highlighted in a 2014 Antelope Valley court case. A youth soccer coach, Renoir Vincent Valenti, was convicted of molesting 14 children and was sentenced to 130 years to life in prison, but the victims were not given any mental health restitution.

Both the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the Crime Victims Action Alliance have expressed support for the legislation.

On the Senate floor, the bill passed with 39 “yeses,” no “noes” and one abstain. On the Assembly floor, the bill passed with 74 “yeses,” no “noes” and six abstains.

This law will officially go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

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