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Intimate Partner Violence

More than a third of women and a quarter of men experience physical, psychological or sexual abuse by an intimate partner during their lifetime.   Law enforcement agencies in California field an average of 457 domestic violence calls per day. Approximately 11 percent of California homicides are related to domestic violence. Whether aware of it or not, nearly all Californians know someone affected by intimate partner violence. Beyond the human toll, intimate partner violence results in significant economic consequences to both victims and taxpayers. The Little Hoover Commission is launching a study on intimate partner violence to examine the full range of the state’s response to it, such as the distribution of grant funding and the organization of state agencies that address this issue. The Commission will try to determine if there are reforms or changes to these programs that might more effectively serve those affected by intimate partner violence. Its first hearing is scheduled for October 24, 2019, in which it will hear from service and technical assistance providers, users of services, researchers, advocates and others in the stakeholder community to learn where state policy, law, regulations and practices intersect with the work they do, what is working well, where there are opportunities to better serve those affected by intimate partner violence and their recommendations on how the state can utilize those opportunities. The Commission plans to hold a second hearing in early 2020 that will focus on the state agencies working to reduce, prevent and mitigate the impacts of intimate partner violence. For more information about this study, please contact Krystal Beckham at krystal. beckham[at]lhc. ca. gov.  To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please subscribe to Little Hoover Commission Updates: http://eepurl. com/diLeJ1

Factors Driving California Housing Costs

The Commission is reviewing the underlying causes of California’s high cost of housing, attempting to determine the driving factors behind rising costs and to identify whether those factors are market-driven, influenced by state policy, influenced by local policy, or by some other cause. Housing has long been more expensive in California than the rest of the country, but beginning in the 1980s, the divergence between the state and the nation became much larger. Today the median cost of a single-family home in California is approximately two-and-a-half times the national median, a difference only partially offset by California’s higher earnings. The result is that California has one of the nation’s lowest home ownership rates, Californians spend a disproportionate share of their income on housing, and the share of crowded housing units has increased. Voters consistently cite housing costs as one of the key issues facing the state. With this study, the Commission will examine the underlying market conditions that have increased housing prices in California, including high demand created by the state’s population growth and higher prices enabled by the state’s highly productive economy. Additionally, the Commission will examine the reasons underlying the relatively slow growth of housing supply in California, as reflected in the state’s slowing rate of new housing permits and generally low stock of housing units as a share of population. The Commission will also examine the variations in housing cost throughout the state, which can help to identify whether the underlying causes are driven by statewide policy or local policy, or by varying economic conditions. Once the driving factors of housing cost have been determined, the Commission will consider whether to continue further study of housing-related policy. If you would like more information regarding this study, please contact Ethan Rarick at ethan. rarick@lhc. ca. gov or at 916-445-2125. To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please subscribe to Little Hoover Commission Updates: http://eepurl. com/diLeJ1 

Labor Trafficking

The Little Hoover Commission is reviewing California state government’s role in identifying and combating labor trafficking and assisting victims/survivors of this type of crime. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that involves controlling a person or group through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victims for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. Human trafficking generates an estimated $150 billion a year in profit globally, more than a third through forced labor. Legislation in 2005 made human trafficking a felony in California. In the years since, lawmakers have largely focused efforts on targeting sex traffickers, protecting sexually exploited children, and providing services to victims of sex trafficking. Less has been done to combat labor trafficking, which some experts believe is a more prevalent crime. Labor trafficking can occur in many forms including domestic work, traveling sales crews, or begging rings, and is prevalent in the agriculture, food service, and health/beauty service industries. It may take place in rural or urban settings, alongside or within legitimate businesses, hidden in plain sight, or behind locked doors. However, the state lacks data to say with confidence where and in what form this crime occurs. With this study, the Commission will review California’s laws and efforts to combat labor trafficking and consider how to effectively identify and fight labor trafficking and assist victims/survivors of the crime. If you would like more information regarding this study, please contact Tamar Foster at tamar. foster@lhc. ca. gov or at 916-445-2125. To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please subscribe to Little Hoover Commission Updates: http://eepurl. com/diLeJ1Previous StudiesLevel the Playing Field: Put California’s Underground Economy Out of Business(Report #226, March 2015)