Plan prioritizes needs of victims and survivors over convictions
LOS ANGELES, CA – Former federal public defender Rachel Rossi today announced her plan to modernize and upgrade the District Attorney’s victims’’ policies by putting victims and survivors first–not only convictions. The plan draws inspiration from her work as a public defender where she witnessed the other side of the criminal justice system–including its flaws in how it handles victims and survivors of crime. The plan includes Rachel Rossi’s strategy for implementing restorative justice–making crime victims whole and giving them a voice and prioritizing their needs.
“Today I am releasing my platform on a victim-and -survivor first approach to justice,” Rachel Rossi said. “One of the most difficult issues survivors face is a common belief that their word alone is insufficient. Someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the United States, and 68% of these crimes are never reported to the police, often for this reason. The Me Too movement has shown the world what many survivors have already long known–it is difficult to come forward as a survivor of sexual assault because our society still does not believe survivors and because the justice system consistently fails survivors. As your District Attorney, I will actively fight victim-blaming and victim disbelief through modern victim-centered approaches to justice.”
Rossi continued, “Supporting victims of crime, and reducing victimization of crime, must be the priorities of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. As District Attorney, I would support policies to put victims and survivors first, to listen to them, to notify them, and to prioritize their needs, instead of a blind pursuit of only a conviction at all cost. Efforts must also be made to empower Deputy District Attorneys so they are further equipped to listen to and provide support for victims and survivors.”
Rachel Rossi’s plan includes details on how she will expand access to restorative justice options, improve services and support for victims, support victims of property crime and sexual assault and end the practice of incarcerating victims.
“Recently, our incumbent District Attorney admitted that she still utilizes this archaic practice, saying her office ‘only rarely’ arrests victims,” Rossi added. “As District Attorney, I would end this practice. A victim should never be re-traumatized with an arrest. I would focus instead on efforts to provide services and assistance to survivors, to empower them to come forward when they are ready.”
Rossi continued, “Prioritizing victims requires a compassionate, culturally sensitive, gender-informed and linguistically sensitive approach. It also requires modern psychological experts to combat the failure of our society in blaming and disbelieving survivors.”
“As your District Attorney I would support victims and stand with survivors by empowering them to choose restorative justice options if they desire it; improving and expanding services, counseling and resources provided to victims; providing timely, compassionate and culturally sensitive notice about the case; and fighting property crime and ensuring victims are more quickly provided help to repair harm. I would also improve office training on sexual assault, and promote the use of experts at trial to explain the specific psychological characteristics common to sexual assault survivors. Most importantly, as your District Attorney, I will end the practice of incarcerating victims.”
Read the full plan here.