S-05-06


WHEREAS, the continued cooperation of crime victims and witnesses with law enforcement and the courts is critical to the administration of justice; and WHEREAS, crime victims and witnesses are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect throughout the criminal justice system; and WHEREAS, crime victims have a constitutional right to receive restitution from offenders for losses suffered as a result of criminal activity; and WHEREAS, California has enacted laws giving crime victims significant rights throughout the criminal justice process; and WHEREAS, the rights of crime victims and witnesses should be protected and honored throughout the criminal justice system; and WHEREAS, oversight of victim-services funding and service delivery for crime victims' programs is spread across four Cabinet-level agencies, the Governor's Office, and at least 10 different departments, as well as the Attorney General, the State Controller and the Secretary of State; and WHEREAS, there is no single state entity or contact responsible for coordinating state efforts and advocating on behalf of crime victims; and WHEREAS, there is a lack of coordination among state agencies governing crime victim services in California, resulting in conflicting and duplicative policies; and WHEREAS, comprehensive statewide planning for crime victim services would reduce uncertainty in funding from year to year for critical victim-serving organizations; and WHEREAS, improved coordination between victim-services grant programs is needed to better address the needs of crime victims and the organizations that provide services to crime victims; and WHEREAS, crime victims should have a greater voice in state policies governing the delivery of victim services and preservation of crime victims' rights. NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California do hereby issue this order to become effective immediately: 1. The position of Crime Victim Advocate is hereby established in the Office of Governor. 2. The Crime Victim Advocate shall be responsible for reviewing all state agency victim-services programs, and for coordinating and working closely with state crime victim--service programs, law enforcement, district attorneys, parole agents, probation officers, the courts, crime victim groups, local victim-servicing organizations, and others, to identify the needs of crime victims. 3. The Crime Victim Advocate shall propose a statewide plan to eliminate duplication of administration and oversight of grants and contracts to local victim-servicing organizations. The plan will be designed to streamline and make more efficient state victim--services programs, to identify avenues the state can enhance providing these services to crime victims and their providers, and to increase coordination between the state, local victim-servicing organizations, and other key stakeholders. The Attorney General, the State Controller and the Secretary of State are invited to participate in the development of this plan. The Crime Victim Advocate shall provide the Governor with proposed changes in a report within 150 days of being appointed. 4. The Crime Victim Advocate shall seek input from state crime victim-services programs, law enforcement, district attorneys, parole agents, probation officers, the courts, crime victim groups, local victim-servicing organizations, and others to prepare both short- and long-term strategic plans for enhancing crime victim services. 5. The Crime Victim Advocate shall become the Governor's lead advocate on state and federal policy impacting crime victims.