The people of California have made it clear that all those who suffer losses due to criminal activity have the right to seek and obtain compensation from those convicted of the crimes. In Contra Costa County, the Board of Supervisors enacted an ordinance to protect citizens' rights to privacy in their homes at night and serve as a deterrent to violent crime. However, the Alternatives for California Women, Inc. (ACW) argued that this ordinance unconstitutionally violated the First Amendment rights of county residents to receive communications from the ACW.
The case was sent to a higher court with instructions to rule in favor of the plaintiff and appellant ACW. The higher court ruled that the ordinance was unconstitutional because it was not drafted as narrowly as possible to avoid infringing First Amendment rights. County interests can be promoted by less restrictive means that do not diminish First Amendment rights. To ensure that women's rights are safeguarded, current legislation is in place that affects battered women and petitions are available for signatures to be used in lobbying. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires employers to offer eligible employees up to 12 weeks of work in any 12-month period for family care and medical leave. The Speak Out Act is a law promoting “me too” in the workplace passed by Congress.
Furthermore, victims have the right to be heard upon request in any proceeding involving a post-arrest release decision, a guilty plea, a conviction, a post-conviction release decision, or any proceeding in which a victim's right is at stake. It is essential for women in Contra Costa County, California to be aware of their rights and the laws that protect them. General provisions adopted “before a dispute arises” will not apply to cases of sexual assault or harassment initiated under federal, tribal or state legislation. The right to reproductive freedom and abortion is established by the state Constitution and victims have the right to be heard upon request in any proceeding involving their rights. By understanding their rights and current legislation, women can ensure they are protected from discrimination and violence. Signatures on petitions can be used in lobbying for further protection of women's rights.