LA County to create Sexual Assault Council with aim of prevention, awareness and helping victims

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to start the process of developing a Sexual Assault Council aimed at coordinating response and prevention services for survivors of sexual violence.

Introduced by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, the motion asks the county’s CEO to work with the Department of Public Health and Commission for Women to come up with recommendations within 30 days on the composition of the council and how it should be funded.

An informal Sexual Assault Council operated within the county from 2001-2006, but because the group wasn’t a formal entity within county government, the members of the council stopped meeting in 2006, according to the motion.

The Los Angeles County Commission for Women’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Assault recommended the creation of the council, not to duplicate the work already being done by other committees but to coordinate access to services, possibly coordinate data collection and analysis, identify best practices, find gaps in services, suggest improvements, provide public education, coordinate advocacy for more resources and help with awareness and prevention.

The Ad Hoc Committee recommended that the new council include forensic nurses and people working in law enforcement, crime labs, victim services, rape crisis centers, prosecutors’ offices and child protective services.

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“The county must invest in the coordination necessary to ensure that residents across the county can have equal access to the resources they require to heal,” said the motion. “Further, the county must support the identification and implementation of best practices to prevent and reduce the impact of sexual violence in our communities through the creation of a Sexual Assault Council.”