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At City Hall, Activists Call on Newsom to Sign ‘Piqui’s Law’

Published on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 | 5:52 am
 

Pasadena Police Deputy Chief Art Chute addresses fellow supporters of ‘Piqui’s Law’ on the steps of Pasadena City Hall, Sept. 18, 2023. [André Coleman/Pasadena Now]
Activists gathered on the steps of Pasadena City Hall on Monday to urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign AB 331 Piqui’s Law.

The law establishes reforms to family courts and the judicial system to ensure a child’s safety in custody proceedings.

Piqui’s Law: Keeping Children Safe from Family Violence is named after Piqui, a 5-year-old boy who was murdered  by his father despite efforts by Piqui’s mother, Ana Estevez, who fought in family court to protect her son from her ex-husband.

Despite her efforts, the family court refused to implement supervised visitation, which led to her son’s tragic death.

Aramazd Andressian Jr., also called Piqui, was killed by his father in 2017 after a trip to Disneyland. 

His body was recovered after a months-long search when his father led police to the Lake Cachuma area in Santa Barbara County.

“It was only a few years ago that we heard the heartbreaking story of a little boy from our community who had gone missing,” said Pasadena Police Deputy Chief Art Chute. “The disappearance of little Piqui would go on to grip the community for many weeks until the painful news that he had been found without life. The story and the agony felt by Piqui’s mother Anna Estevez would not go unheeded for long.”

Since 2008, there have been 900 reported cases of children being murdered by a divorcing or separating parent in the United States. In addition, empirical research shows that in custody cases involving domestic violence, children are at almost double the risk for child abuse.

The bill will provide critical training is for judicial officers involved in domestic violence and child custody matters, and sets up reporting requirements on education and training for judicial officers.

The bill also also restricts a court from ordering family reunification treatments that cut off the child from one parent to remediate the relationship with the other parent, as well as ensuring the counseling may not be ordered unless it is generally accepted, safe, effective, and has therapeutic value.

AB 331 also requires the Judicial Council to establish training programs on child abuse, domestic violence, coercive control, bias, and trauma for on-going training to all professionals who perform duties in family law matters and requires Judicial Council to collect and report judicial training data relating to hours completed by judges in a continuing education program.

“That bill is on its way to the governor’s desk and it’s bittersweet because we know that Piqui is not here with us. It’s not going to bring Piqui back, and we have to deal with the senseless tragedy and loss of a beautiful little boy who was robbed of a lifetime of smiles, memories, Anna Esteves, who will never get to see Piqui graduate, she’ll never see Piqui get married, create his own family, and become a productive member of our society. She will never get to see that. So it is time that we take action to ensure that this tragedy doesn’t happen to another family,” said Susan Rubo, (D-Monrovia).

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