BY Caleb Pugh
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has launched a new initiative — the Office of Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement (CARE). This program focuses on cultivating relationships with historically marginalized and underrepresented communities in line with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of its work on behalf of the people of California.
CARE includes the fight for environmental, economic, and social justice. It held its first video conference to explain the direction the program will take.
“We provide many different options when it comes to helping victims such as providing advocacy and assistance in victim services in court cases,” Ross Robinson said. “We also do response inquiry on capital and non-capital appeals; we also have access to the sexual assault forensic tracking system; we also provide resources and publications to victims; and lastly our office is involved in officer investigated shootings.”
The Victims Service unit has played a role in 430 sexual assault cases that have occurred in California, they over use help keep victims and their families in the know about the court proceedings, whether it’s the county, state, or federal court.
The advocates in the unit help with appeals up to 60 days after the verdict on non-capital cases. Additionally, they provide and recommend their clients mental and emotional support services after the sentencing of their case because of the toll the court process can have on people.
The Victims Service Unit helps officers, victims, and family members who are connected with officer-involved shootings.
“We are to make contact within 48 hours with the descendant’s next of kin,” Robinson said. “We are the point of contact with the deputy general and the victim’s family, we provide them with community resources, and information, and be a liaison with trauma institutions.”
If readers or somebody they know needs help or is looking for more information, email VictimSerivces@doj.ca.gov or call the toll-free number (877) 433-9069.