I’m a Victim. Where can I find Assistance?
Those who work in victim services provide a wide variety of free services to assist those who have been victimized to thrive again. For the County District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, all victims of crime are given the same attention and support. The Victim Services Bureau provides essential services for crime victims and witnesses. Courthouses and police stations have them on staff and can help you in various languages. There are no legal residence or citizenship requirements for participation in the program.
Who is Qualified for Assiastance?
Not every victim is qualified for the organization’s protection services, and the choice to engage is entirely up to each individual. When the Justice Department decides to provide protection, it usually does so after consulting with the prosecutors and investigators involved. Attorneys acting on behalf of possible witnesses may negotiate with program authorities on their behalf to get admittance into the program.
To be eligible, the victim must comply with the following requirements:
- Assist with the investigation and prosecution of suspects.
- Not be a part of the crime or have anything to do with it.
- Not be a registered sex offender.
- Not be on probation or parole for a violent felony at the time of the incident.
- Must be a Los Angeles or California resident at the time of the crime (Non-California residents must have been targeted while in the state).
The application must be submitted within seven years after the offense or seven years after the immediate victim reaches age 21, whichever comes later. Submission of a Late Filing Consideration form is required if an application is submitted late.
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Victims Constitutional Freedoms
Crime victims have the right to the following:
- The entitlement to a reasonable degree of protection from the defendant.
- If they ask, the right to timely notice about the defendant’s conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration, or other disposition, their scheduled release date, and whether or not the defendant got out of jail.
- If the court obtains clear and convincing proof that the victim’s testimony would be substantially influenced if the victim overheard other testimony at that session, the court has the authority to continue the proceeding in public.
- The right to a fair hearing in any district court action involving release, plea, sentence, or any parole session open to the public.
- The right to consult with the government’s lawyer, if necessary.
- The right to receive full and prompt reparation under the terms of the agreement.
- The right to a fast court hearing and a quick and final end to the case and any related proceedings after the verdict.
- Victims have the privilege of being treated fairly and with respect for their privacy and dignity.
- Victims have the right to establish reasonable conditions for any interview with the defendant and their lawyer or any other party acting on behalf of the defendant if the victim consents to the discussion.
Services Provided for Victims
The Victim Assistance Program under the Office of the City Attorney of Los Angeles provides the following services to victims of crime: victims of child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence, as well as those with disabilities and the families of criminal murder victims, are given particular attention by the program. On certain high-trauma offenses, a crime scene response is offered.
- Assist with the application process for the California Victim Compensation Board (Victims of crime application).
- Court Escort offers presentations on Crisis Intervention and Training for Organizations Working in the Criminal Justice System.
- Help in an Emerging Emergency.
- Assistance with Public Presentations, as well as Resource and Referral Opportunities.
- Case Development and Case Resolution.
- Restitution Direct Counseling or Therapy Notification of Family and Friends Return of Property Employer Notification or Intervention Orientation to the Criminal Justice System.
The District Attorney’s Victim’s Assistance Fund was founded by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office to provide Christmas presents, food, and other forms of assistance to crime victims and their families. Benefits covered include the following:
- Medical/Dental assistance
- Home/Vehicle Modifications
- Services Relating to Mental Health
- Loss and Income support due to relocation
- Home Security
- Crime Scene Clean-up
- Funeral/Burial Expenses
An applicant or victim’s out-of-pocket costs or bills are the only things that qualify for assistance. Medical and medical-related services, including mental health and counseling services, may be reimbursed at maximum rates and service limits established by the Board of Supervisors under California law.
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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.