The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday to improve victim services and expand the restitution fund that will assist victims and victims’ families with things such as funerals, relocation and cost of living expenses.
The motion, authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, was approved unanimously by the board and adopts the recommendation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on June 25 of this year.
“Los Angeles County has seen a 72% rise in homicides and an 11% increase in aggravated assaults, including aggravated sexual assault,” said Barger in a prepared statement. “Now, more than ever, we must devote resources to provide comprehensive and holistic healing by restoring and enhancing the county’s victim services programs.”
At the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Victim Services Bureau assists in everything from crisis intervention to emergency assistance to court and counseling resources, among other assistance for crime victims.
Tuesday’s motion allows the vacant positions within this bureau to be filled regardless of county hiring freezes and seeks to improve the way in which these new employees are recruited.
Additionally, the motion includes an expansion of the unclaimed victim restitution fund and will transfer eligible unclaimed restitution funds from the Probation Department to the District Attorney, officials said in a prepared statement.
“The motion will ensure newly implemented policies will result in the use of one-time unclaimed victim restitution funds to cover expenses for victims and victims’ next of kin for funeral and burial, relocation, food, costs for necessities, and security expenses,” reads the statement. “Additionally, the motion asks the CEO to submit a request during the fiscal year 2022-23 budget to expand funding for victims’ services programs including restitution collection assistance.”
The motion instructs county staff to seek further funding sources for the victim services programs and for the District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services to resume collaboration with relevant departments.