BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The month of April is dedicated to Crime Victims’ Rights Awareness in San Luis Obispo County the week of April 19-25 across the nation. This is a time to honor survivors and their loved ones, raise awareness of victims' rights and services and stand with those whose lives have been impacted.
The theme this year is "Seek Justice | Ensure Victims' Rights | Inspire Hope" which celebrates the progress made by those before us.
“It was recently pointed out to me that our justice system is usually called the ‘criminal justice’ system and it is never called the ‘victim justice’ system. That must begin to change. While the protection of the rights of those who are accused is fundamentally important, it is equally as important to keep the dignity and respect of the victim throughout the entire process. That is why Crime Victims’ Rights Awareness Month is so important to me,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.
A victim is defined under the California Constitution as, “a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act. This also includes the person’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, or guardian and includes a lawful representative of a crime victim who is deceased, a minor, or physically or psychologically incapacitated."
Victims are often unaware that they have rights within the justice system. For victims in the county, the Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center is here to help by providing support, resources and informing victims they have a right to:
• Be informed about the criminal justice process
• Be notified and informed of pending felony pretrial/trial dispositions
• Be heard by the court at sentencing/disposition/parole eligibility hearings
• The return of property when it is no longer needed as evidence
• Be notified if their presence in court is not needed
• Be informed about available civil remedies, financial assistance, and social services
• Be compensated for their loss whenever possible
• Be provided with a secure waiting area during court proceedings; and
• Have inconveniences associated with participation in the criminal justice process minimized.
Not all rights are assumed, some must be invoked.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime, you can contact the Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center for information and services including:
- Crisis Intervention
- Emergency Assistance
- Resource and Referral Assistance
- Victim Compensation Program Claim Assistance
- Property Return
- Orientation to the Criminal Justice System
- Court Escort and Support
- Case Status/Case Disposition
- Notification of Family/Friends
- Employer Notification/Intervention
- Restitution Assistance
Check here for more information.
District Attorney's Office - Christopher G. Money Assistance Center
1035 Palm Street, #384
San Luis Obispo