Victim-Witness Assistance Centers

The Victim/Witness Assistance Center program was established by legislation, Penal Code§ 13835.5, to reduce the trauma, insensitivity, and devastating effects that victims and witnesses may experience following a crime so that they are not further victimized by the criminal justice system. The program is entirely funded through fines and penalties levied against defendants. Advocates guide victims and witnesses through the legal system and direct them to organizations and agencies that offer assistance and emergency services, including:

 

Mandatory Services

  • Crisis Intervention
  • Emergency Assistance providing food, housing, clothing, and when necessary, cash
  • Counseling Resource and Referral within the community
  • Assistance in Filing a California Victim Compensation claim
  • Assistance in getting the victim’s property returned held as evidence by law enforcement agencies
  • Orientation to the Criminal Justice System
  • Court Escort and Support
  • Presentations to and training of criminal justice system agencies
  • Publicity
  • Case Status or Disposition Information
  • Notification to Family and Friends
  • Notification to Employer
  • Restitution Assistance

Optional Services

  • Employer Intervention
  • Creditor Intervention
  • Child Care Assistance
  • Witness Notification of any change in the court calendar
  • Funeral Arrangement Assistance
  • Crime Prevention Information
  • Witness Protection Assistance
  • Temporary Restraining Order Information
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Provision of a separate waiting area for defendants and families and friends of defendants during court proceedings