By Jaanvi Kaur and Veronica Miller
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced recently a new policy allowing individuals whose work regularly depends on communication with the public to take language courses from the City College of San Francisco during their work hours.
In the press statement, DA Boudin stated, “According to data collected through 2019, 42 percent of San Francisco residents speak a language other than English at home…this policy will encourage our staff to continue to develop their language skills to better meet the needs of our victims, witnesses and survivors.”
The District Attorney’s Office has also started a pilot program to provide funding for small businesses that have been victims of property crimes. This program has been expanded throughout the city and is associated with local businesses to provide housing and transportation to victims.
It has also implemented a policy to secure victims with limited English proficiency with county court interpreters during court proceedings.
DA Boudin within the last year has secured funding that was used to expand the District Attorney Victim Services Division.
Along with this expansion, an additional 10 victim advocates were hired. Included in the new hires there are eight who speak English and another language, two property crime victim advocates, and two clinical social workers. These advocates will be fluent in Spanish, Cantonese, Tagalog, Khmu, Hindi, Urdu and Creole.
The District Attorney’s Office said it promotes equality for victims of crimes through the implementation of this plan by prioritizing alternative languages, and creates a space for individuals to be understood and understand the criminal legal system regardless of the language they speak.
San Francisco residents and some employees through their union are able to take nine different language classes free through the City College of San Francisco. The district attorney said he is hoping that others throughout the city will replicate this policy so services can be available to all San Franciscans.