In recognition of the Denim Day sexual assault prevention, education and awareness campaign, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Wednesday announced the creation of a working group to provide the office’s Bureau of Victim Services with guidance on how to better serve sexual assault victims.
“My office will continue to aggressively prosecute sexual assault cases as we work to make our community safer and healthier,” Gascón said in a news release. “We must make sure survivors of sexual assault have access to trauma-informed support and services for healing.”
The group of experts and advocates will examine best patterns and practices from throughout the country and explore what other efforts can be made in dealing with sexual assault cases, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Gascón noted that the office’s charge rate for rape and sexual assault has increased since he took office. In 2019, the charge rate for sexual assault was 68 percent; in 2021 it was 77 percent. In 2020, the rate for rape cases was 28 percent; last year it was 32 percent.
Last week, Gascón announced the hiring of Tanishia G. Wright, the new Director of the office’s Bureau of Victim Services. Gascón also worked with the Board of Supervisors to increase the number of victim services representatives in the office. The office has a staff of 78 victim services representatives and also are in the process of hiring more victim services representatives countywide.
According to Gascón, the DA’s office remains open to new ideas. That’s why he created the office’s first Crime Victims Advisory Board, which has direct access to his administrators so they may share their concerns and provide input on improving services.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and April 27 is annual Denim Day in Los Angeles County. Denim Day is a sexual assault prevention, education and awareness campaign. It originated in 1998 and was observed in LA County the following year in response to an Italian Supreme Court decision which overturned a rape conviction.
The goal of Denim Day is to encourage people to break the silence that surrounds all forms of sexual violence and to get thousands of people wearing jeans across the county and country to raise awareness of the devastating impact of sexual violence.
Previous related story: DA Gascón announces new director for Bureau of Victim Services