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.
Kuehl currently sits on the advisory board of nonprofit Peace over Violence who is caught in the middle of a scandal regarding no bid contracts received from Metro, the County Transit Authority, for a sexual assault hotline that cost on average of $8000 per call. Despite the nonprofits mission that “everyone should be free from the oppression of sexual and domestic violence” the agency is silent on sexual and domestic violence allegations levied against elected officials throughout the state.
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, and 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 law enforcement, people working in crime labs, victim services, forensic nurses, rape crisis centers, prosecutors’ offices and child protective services.
“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,” according to 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.”
2UrbanGirls contributed to this report.