Code Governing Victim-Witness

13835. The Legislature finds and declares as follows:

(a) That there is a need to develop methods to reduce the trauma and insensitive treatment that victims and witnesses may experience in the wake of a crime, since all too often citizens who become involved with the criminal justice system, either as victims or witnesses to crime, are further victimized by that system.

(b) That when a crime is committed, the chief concern of criminal justice agencies has been apprehending and dealing with the criminal, and that after police leave the scene of the crime, the victim is frequently forgotten.

(c) That victims often become isolated and receive little practical advice or necessary care.

(d) That witnesses must make arrangements to appear in court regardless of their own schedules, child care responsibilities, or transportation problems, and that they often find long waits, crowded courthouse hallways, confusing circumstances and, after testifying, receive no information as to the disposition of the case.

(e) That a large number of victims and witnesses are unaware of both their rights and obligations.

(f) That although the State of California has a fund for needy victims of violent crimes, and compensation is available for medical expenses, lost income or wages, and rehabilitation costs, the application process may be difficult, complex, and time-consuming, and victims may not be aware that the compensation provisions exist.

It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to provide services to meet the needs of both victims and witnesses of crime through the funding of local comprehensive centers for victim and witness assistance.