In The News

Victim compensation unit eliminated within Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office

The Press Democrat | November 29, 2019

A small unit inside the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office that has processed compensation claims for crime victims will be shut down at the end of the year, a state decision District Attorney Jill Ravitch said was based on the local unit’s performance.

Since 1986, the county’s unit has collected up to $15 million for victims while contracting with the California Victim Compensation Board, which is charged with providing compensation for victims of violent crimes.

But a year before the most recent three-year contract is set to end, the state has decided to pull the plug on funding, effectively shuttering the local office in favor of a state-run process Ravitch promised would be the same “if not better” for crime victims.

The state’s decision eliminates $175,000 in funding for three positions that the county will try to retain in another capacity. But the move landed with a sickening thud for the affected workers. Janeann Dawson, a claims supervisor in the unit who also is president of the SEIU Local 1021, county government’s largest union, said she was “devastated” by the decision.

“Local services need to be in this county,” she said in her comments to the Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 19 meeting. “Victims will not be served in this county.”

Read Full Article: The Press Democrat