In 2019, Californians for Safety and Justice, an advocacy group for survivors of crime and for criminal justice reform, published a report as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The report was based on surveys of nearly 1,000 crime victims from across California.
The group found that approximately 1 in 3 Californians has been a victim of some type of crime within the past decade. Although California has services specifically for victims of crime, 20 percent of those surveyed did not feel that they had been offered adequate support to help them recover from the crime that they had experienced. According to the report, these victims believed that they were not offered sufficient medical services, counseling, financial help, and legal assistance.
Being a victim of a crime can be incredibly traumatic. According to the report, untreated trauma from experiencing a crime can increase the risk for mental health issues, substance abuse and other challenges. This can then lead to problems such as unemployment, loss of housing, and financial difficulties. That is why it is so important for victims to be able to access the support and services that they need after a crime.
According to the survey results, only 14 percent of crime victims felt that they were “very supported” by the criminal justice system after they had experienced a crime. 32 percent believed that they were “not at all supported,” while 27 percent felt “somewhat supported.” Just 20 percent believed that they were “slightly supported.”
Beyond services, the majority of victims surveyed also believed that criminal justice reforms are necessary to focus on rehabilitation of offenders and prevention of crime. Eight out of ten respondents favored allocating ten percent of the state’s prison’s budget to fund mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, and trauma recovery.
As an Irvine victims’ rights attorney can explain, victims of crime in California are entitled to compensation through the California Victim Compensation Board if they suffer from certain types of crime. Having a skilled lawyer to represent you can ease the process of applying for and obtaining compensation for these expenses, which may include items such as mental health services, medical and dental treatment, home security, and more.
Beyond obtaining services, an Irvine victims’ rights attorney can advocate for your rights throughout the criminal justice process. This includes assisting you with responding to subpoenas, calculating and collecting restitution, helping you get ready to testify in court, and speaking on your behalf during a sentencing hearing and t the deputy district attorney and judge. An Irvine victims’ rights attorney will represent your interests, and will help to ensure that you receive the support and services that you are entitled to under California law.
Attorney Michael E. Fell is a former prosecutor who now exclusively represents victims of crime in Irvine and the surrounding areas. At Justice 4 Crime Victims, we believe that victims of crime in California should be treated with respect and dignity. We work hard to ensure that your rights are protected, and will advocate for you throughout the criminal justice process. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 949-585-9055 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free initial consultation with an Irvine victims’ rights attorney.