Article 2. Local Assistance Centers For Victims And Witnesses of California Penal Code >> Title 6. >> Part 4. >> Chapter 4. >> Article 2.
The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(a) That there is a need to develop methods to reduce the trauma
and insensitive treatment that victims and witnesses may experience
in the wake of a crime, since all too often citizens who become
involved with the criminal justice system, either as victims or
witnesses to crime, are further victimized by that system.
(b) That when a crime is committed, the chief concern of criminal
justice agencies has been apprehending and dealing with the criminal,
and that after police leave the scene of the crime, the victim is
(c) That victims often become isolated and receive little
practical advice or necessary care.
(d) That witnesses must make arrangements to appear in court
regardless of their own schedules, child care responsibilities, or
transportation problems, and that they often find long waits, crowded
courthouse hallways, confusing circumstances and, after testifying,
receive no information as to the disposition of the case.
(e) That a large number of victims and witnesses are unaware of
both their rights and obligations.
(f) That although the State of California has a fund for needy
victims of violent crimes, and compensation is available for medical
expenses, lost income or wages, and rehabilitation costs, the
application process may be difficult, complex, and time-consuming,
and victims may not be aware that the compensation provisions exist.
It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to provide
services to meet the needs of both victims and witnesses of crime
through the funding of local comprehensive centers for victim and
(a) Funds appropriated from the Victim-Witness Assistance
Fund shall be made available through the Office of Emergency Services
to any public or private nonprofit agency for the assistance of
victims and witnesses that meets all of the following requirements:
(1) It provides comprehensive services to victims and witnesses of
all types of crime. It is the intent of the Legislature to make
funds available only to programs that do not restrict services to
victims and witnesses of a particular type of crime, and do not
restrict services to victims of crime in which there is a suspect in
(2) It is recognized by the board of supervisors as the major
provider of comprehensive services to victims and witnesses in the
(3) It is selected by the board of supervisors as the agency to
receive funds pursuant to this article.
(4) It assists victims of crime in the preparation, verification,
and presentation of their claims to the California Victim
Compensation and Government Claims Board for indemnification pursuant
to Article 1 (commencing with Section 13959) of Part 4 of Division 3
of Title 2 of the Government Code.
(5) It cooperates with the California Victim Compensation and
Government Claims Board in verifying the data required by Article 1
(commencing with Section 13959) of Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of
the Government Code.
(b) The Office of Emergency Services shall consider the following
factors, together with any other circumstances it deems appropriate,
in awarding funds to public or private nonprofit agencies designated
as victim and witness assistance centers:
(1) The capability of the agency to provide comprehensive services
as defined in this article.
(2) The stated goals and objectives of the center.
(3) The number of people to be served and the needs of the
(4) Evidence of community support.
(5) The organizational structure of the agency that will operate
(6) The capability of the agency to provide confidentiality of
In order to insure the effective delivery of comprehensive
services to victims and witnesses, a center established by an agency
receiving funds pursuant to this article shall carry out all of the
following activities in connection with both primary and optional
(a) Translation services for non-English speaking victims and
witnesses or the hearing-impaired.
(b) Follow-up contact to determine whether the client received the
(c) Field visits to a client's home, place of business, or other
location, whenever necessary to provide services.
(d) Service to victims and witnesses of all types of crime.
(e) Volunteer participation to encourage community involvement.
(f) Services for elderly victims of crime, appropriate to their
(a) Comprehensive services shall include all of the
following primary services:
(1) Crisis intervention, providing timely and comprehensive
responses to the individual needs of victims.
(2) Emergency assistance, directly or indirectly providing food,
housing, clothing, and, when necessary, cash.
(3) Resource and referral counseling to agencies within the
community which are appropriate to meet the victim's needs.
(4) Direct counseling of the victim on problems resulting from the
(5) Assistance in the processing, filing, and verifying of claims
filed by victims of crime pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with
Section 13959) of Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government
(6) Assistance in obtaining the return of a victim's property held
as evidence by law enforcement agencies, if requested.
(7) Orientation to the criminal justice system.
(8) Court escort.
(9) Presentations to and training of criminal justice system
(10) Public presentations and publicity.
(11) Monitoring appropriate court cases to keep victims and
witnesses apprised of the progress and outcome of their case.
(12) Notification to friends, relatives, and employers of the
occurrence of the crime and the victim's condition, upon request of
(13) Notification to the employer of the victim or witness, if
requested by the victim or witness, informing the employer that the
employee was a victim of or witness to a crime and asking the
employer to minimize any loss of pay or other benefits which may
result because of the crime or the employee's participation in the
criminal justice system.
(14) Upon request of the victim, assisting in obtaining
restitution for the victim, in ascertaining the victim's economic
loss, and in providing the probation department, district attorney,
and court with information relevant to his or her losses prior to the
imposition of sentence.
(b) Comprehensive services may include the following optional
services, if their provision does not preclude the efficient
provision of primary services:
(1) Employer intervention.
(2) Creditor intervention.
(3) Child care.
(4) Notification to witnesses of any change in the court calendar.
(5) Funeral arrangements.
(6) Crime prevention information.
(7) Witness protection, including arranging for law enforcement
protection or relocating witnesses in new residences.
(8) Assistance in obtaining temporary restraining orders.
(10) Provision of a waiting area during court proceedings separate
from defendants and families and friends of defendants.
(a) The Office of Emergency Services, in cooperation with
representatives from local victim and witness assistance centers,
shall develop standards defining the activities and services
enumerated in this article.
(b) The Office of Emergency Services, in cooperation with
representatives from local victim and witness assistance centers,
shall develop a method of evaluating the activities and performance
of centers established pursuant to this article.
There is in the State Treasury the Victim-Witness
Assistance Fund. Funds appropriated thereto shall be dispensed to the
Office of Emergency Services exclusively for the purposes specified
in this article, for any other purpose that supports victims, and for
the support of the centers specified in Section 13837.
(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
(1) That the provision of quality services for victims of crime is
of high priority.
(2) That existing victim service programs do not have sufficient
financial resources to consistently recruit and employ fully trained
(3) That there is no consistency in the training provided to the
various agencies serving victims.
(4) That comprehensive training for victim service agencies is
geographically limited or unavailable.
(5) That there is currently no statewide comprehensive training
system in place for the state to ensure that all service providers
receive adequate training to provide quality services to victims of
(6) It is the intention of the Legislature to establish a
statewide training program within the Office of Emergency Services to
provide comprehensive standardized training to victim service
(b) The Office of Emergency Services shall establish a statewide
victim-assistance training program, the purpose of which is to
develop minimum training and selection standards, certify training
courses, and provide funding to enable local victim service providers
to acquire the required training.
(c) (1) For the purpose of raising the level of competence of
local victim service providers, the Office of Emergency Services
shall adopt guidelines establishing minimum standards of training for
employees of victim-witness and sexual assault programs funded by
the office to provide services to victims of crime. The Office of
Emergency Services shall establish an advisory committee composed of
recognized statewide victim service organizations, representatives of
local victim service programs, and others selected at the discretion
of the executive director to consult on the research and development
of the training, selection, and equivalency standards.
(2) Any local unit of government, community-based organization, or
any other public or private nonprofit entity funded by the Office of
Emergency Services as a victim-witness or sexual assault program to
provide services to victims of crime shall adhere to the training and
selection standards established by the Office of Emergency Services.
The standards for sexual assault victim service programs developed
by the advisory committee established pursuant to Section 13836 shall
be the standards for purposes of this section. With the exception of
the sexual assault standards, the Office of Emergency Services shall
conduct or contract with an appropriate firm or entity for research
on validated standards pursuant to this section in consultation with
the advisory committee established pursuant to paragraph (1). The
Office of Emergency Services may defer the adoption of the selection
standards until the necessary research is completed. Until the
standards are adopted, affected victim service programs may receive
state funding from the Office of Emergency Services upon
certification of their willingness to adhere to the training
standards adopted by the Office of Emergency Services.
(3) Minimum training and selection standards may include, but
shall not be limited to, basic entry, continuation, supervisory,
management, specialized curricula, and confidentiality.
(4) Training and selection standards shall apply to all victim
service and management personnel of the victim-witness and sexual
assault agencies funded by the Office of Emergency Services to
provide services to victims of crime. Exemptions from this
requirement may be made by the Office of Emergency Services. A victim
service agency which, despite good faith efforts, is unable to meet
the standards established pursuant to this section, may apply to the
Office of Emergency Services for an exemption. For the purpose of
exemptions, the Office of Emergency Services may establish procedures
that allow for partial adherence. The Office of Emergency Services
may develop equivalency standards which recognize professional
experience, education, training, or a combination of the above, for
personnel hired before July 1, 1987.
(5) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a victim service
agency, funded by the Office of Emergency Services to provide
services to victims of crime, from establishing training and
selection standards which exceed the minimum standards established by
the Office of Emergency Services pursuant to this section.
(d) For purposes of implementing this section, the Office of
Emergency Services has all of the following powers:
(1) To approve or certify, or both, training courses selected by
(2) To make those inquiries which may be necessary to determine
whether every local unit of government, community-based organization,
or any other public or private entity receiving state aid from the
Office of Emergency Services as a victim-witness or sexual assault
program for the provision of services to victims of crime, is
adhering to the standards for training and selection established
pursuant to this section.
(3) To adopt those guidelines which are necessary to carry out the
purposes of this section.
(4) To develop or present, or both, training courses for victim
service providers, or to contract with coalitions, councils, or other
designated entities, to develop or present, or both, those training
(5) To perform other activities and studies necessary to carry out
the intent of this section.
(e) (1) The Office of Emergency Services may utilize any funds
that may become available from the Victim-Witness Assistance Fund to
fund the cost of training staff of victim service agencies which are
funded by the Office of Emergency Services from the fund. The Office
of Emergency Services may utilize federal or other state funds that
may become available to fund the cost of training staff of victim
service agencies which are not eligible for funding from the
Victim-Witness Assistance Fund.
(2) Peace officer personnel whose jurisdictions are eligible for
training subvention pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section
13500) of Title 4 of this part and correctional or probation
personnel whose jurisdictions are eligible for state aid pursuant to
Article 2 (commencing with Section 6035) of Chapter 5 of Title 7 of
Part 3 are not eligible to receive training reimbursements under this
section unless the person receiving the training is assigned to
provide victim services in accordance with a grant award agreement
with the Office of Emergency Services and is attending training to
meet the established standards.