SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – April 21 marks the beginning of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to focus on victims of crime and celebrate our nation’s progress in serving them. This year’s theme—“New Challenges. New Solutions”—celebrates the commitment to transform victim services in the 21st century and to develop better ways to reach every victim in need.
To recognize this year’s vision, District Attorney Michael Ramos today announced the implementation of a mass notification phone system which will be used to contact every victim in every criminal case in San Bernardino County.
“By utilizing this automated technology, we can better serve all of our victims, not only because we are obligated to do so under Marsy’s Law, but because it’s the right thing to do,” District Attorney Ramos said. “Every victim, regardless of the nature of their victimization, deserves to know that they have rights, and this office will continue to hold true to that commitment.”
In 2008, the voters of the State of California approved Proposition 9, the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, which provided all victims with rights and due process. To read a full copy of the text of the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, visit www.sbcountyda.org.
Ramos contracted with One Call Now, the country’s largest message notification provider which has the ability to quickly and easily send messages.
According to Bureau of Victim Services Chief Flerida O’Brien, under the new system, all victims of crime who provide local law enforcement with a landline phone listing will automatically be placed in the district attorney’s office “One Call Marsy’s Law Notification System.” Once a case is filed, each victim will be notified via phone with the following message:
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has recently received and reviewed a law enforcement report that indicates you were a victim of a crime. We want to inform you that as a victim of a crime you have rights. Crime victims may obtain information regarding their rights known as “Marsy’s rights” at www.sbcountyda.org. The Marsy’s law link is located in the District Attorney Action Center, or if you have questions about the case contact your local District Attorney’s Office. Thank you.
“What’s great about this program is that once we are able to make contact with the victims, it gives us a chance to notify them of their rights and point out that they may be eligible for victim compensation,” O’Brien said.
According to O’Brien, victims may be eligible for compensation through the state for crime-related expenses such as medical bills, funeral and burial, mental health counseling, loss of income, and even emergency relocation. In some instances, victims may even recoup any out-of-pocket losses through court-ordered restitution.
“It’s bad enough that our victims have already suffered from being the victim of a crime,” Ramos said. “That’s why we are doing everything possible to make sure that they are not only aware of their rights as a victim, but that they realize there is someone from our office to help guide them through the process every step of the way.”