2009 California Penal Code - Section 13897-13897.3 :: Chapter 11. Victims' Legal Resource Center

PENAL CODE
SECTION 13897-13897.3

13897.  The Legislature finds and declares each of the following:
   (a) The citizens of California have expressed great concern for
the plight of crime victims.
   (b) It is in the best interest, not only of the victims and their
families, but also of all the citizens of California to ensure that
crime victims receive comprehensive assistance in overcoming the
effects of victimization.
   (c) While many options and rights exist for the crime victim,
including providing financial assistance pursuant to Chapter 5
(commencing with Section 13959) of Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of
the Government Code, participation in sentencing and parole
eligibility hearings of criminal perpetrators, civil litigation
against the perpetrator and third parties, assistance from
victim-witness programs, and private support and counseling services,
research indicates that many crime victims suffer needlessly because
they are not aware of these options and rights, or are apprehensive
or uncertain about where to go for assistance or how to exercise
their rights.
   (d) It is thus necessary to provide a resource center, statewide
in scope, where victims of crime, their families, and providers of
services to victims of crime can receive referral information,
assistance, and legal guidance in order to deal effectively with the
needs of victims of crime and minimize the continuing victimization
process, which often results from a complex justice system. This
resource center shall be independent, offer victims assistance in
understanding and effectively exercising their legal rights, provide
information about their rights and the workings of the criminal
justice system, and direct them to appropriate local resources and
agencies which can offer further assistance. The resource center
shall provide, on a statewide basis, information assistance for all
crime victims without charge and shall complement the efforts of
various local programs, including victim-witness programs, rape
crisis units, domestic violence projects, and child abuse centers.

13897.1.  There shall be established a resource center which shall
operate a statewide, toll-free information service, consisting of
legal and other information, for crime victims and providers of
services to crime victims. The center shall provide information and
educational materials discussing victims' legal rights. The center
shall distribute these materials to administrative agencies, law
enforcement agencies, victim-service programs, local, regional, and
statewide education systems, appropriate human service agencies, and
political, social, civic, and religious leaders and organizations.
   As used in this chapter, "provider of services to crime victims"
means any hospital, doctor, attorney, local or statewide rape crisis
center, domestic violence center, child abuse counseling center, or
victims' witness center that seeks to assist crime victims in
understanding and exercising their legal rights, including those
under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 13959) of Part 4 of Division
3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

13897.2.  (a) The agency or agencies designated by the Director of
Finance pursuant to Section 13820 shall grant an award to an
appropriate private, nonprofit organization, to provide a statewide
resource center, as described in Section 13897.1.
   (b) The center shall:
   (1) Provide callers with information about victims' legal rights
to compensation pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 13959)
of Part 4 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code and, where
appropriate, provide victims with guidance in exercising these
rights.
   (2) Provide callers who provide services to victims of crime with
legal information regarding the legal rights of victims of crime.
   (3) Advise callers about any potential civil causes of action and,
where appropriate, provide callers with references to local legal
aid and lawyer referral services.
   (4) Advise and assist callers in understanding and implementing
their rights to participate in sentencing and parole eligibility
hearings as provided by statute.
   (5) Advise callers about victims' rights in the criminal justice
system, assist them in overcoming problems, including the return of
property, and inform them of any procedures protecting witnesses.
   (6) Refer callers, as appropriate, to local programs, which
include victim-witness programs, rape crisis units, domestic violence
projects, and child sexual abuse centers.
   (7) Refer callers to local resources for information about
appropriate public and private benefits and the means of obtaining
aid.
   (8) Publicize the existence of the toll-free service through the
print and electronic media, including public service announcements,
brochures, press announcements, various other educational materials,
and agreements for the provision of publicity, by private entities.
   (9) Compile comprehensive referral lists of local resources that
include the following: victims' assistance resources, including legal
and medical services, financial assistance, personal counseling and
support services, and victims' support groups.
   (10) Produce promotional materials for distribution to law
enforcement agencies, state and local agencies, print, radio, and
television media outlets, and the general public. These materials
shall include placards, video and audio training materials, written
handbooks, and brochures for public distribution. Distribution of
these materials shall be coordinated with the local victims' service
programs.
   (11) Research, compile, and maintain a library of legal
information concerning crime victims and their rights.
   (12) Provide a 20-percent minimum cash match for all funds
appropriated pursuant to this chapter which match may include federal
and private funds in order to supplement any funds appropriated by
the Legislature.
   (c) The resource center shall be located so as to assure
convenient and regular access between the center and those state
agencies most concerned with crime victims. The entity receiving the
grant shall be a private, nonprofit organization, independent of law
enforcement agencies, and have qualified staff knowledgeable in the
legal rights of crime victims and the programs and services available
to victims throughout the state. The subgrantee shall have an
existing statewide, toll-free information service and have
demonstrated substantial capacity and experience serving crime
victims in areas required by this act.
   (d) The services of the resource center shall not duplicate the
victim service activities of the agency or agencies designated by the
Director of Finance pursuant to Section 13820 or those activities of
local victim programs funded through the office.
   (e) The subgrantee shall be compensated at its federally approved
indirect cost rate, if any. For the purposes of this section,
"federally approved indirect cost rate" means that rate established
by the federal Department of Health and Human Services or other
federal agency for the subgrantee. Nothing in this section shall be
construed as requiring the agency or agencies designated by the
Director of Finance pursuant to Section 13820 to permit the use of
federally approved indirect cost rates for other subgrantees of other
grants administered by the office.
   (f) All information and records retained by the center in the
course of providing services under this chapter shall be confidential
and privileged pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 950)
of Chapter 4 of Division 8 of the Evidence Code and Article 4
(commencing with Section 6060) of Chapter 4 of Division 3 of the
Business and Professions Code. Nothing in this subdivision shall
prohibit compilation and distribution of statistical data by the
center.

13897.3.  The agency or agencies designated by the Director of
Finance pursuant to Section 13820 shall develop written guidelines
for funding and performance standards for monitoring the
effectiveness of the resource center program. The program shall be
evaluated by a public or private nonprofit entity under a contract
with the agency or agencies designated by the Director of Finance
pursuant to Section 13820.


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