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Sunday, August 7, 2022

SF mayor proposes increased funding for services to Asian hate crime victims

Asian victims
Photo: P360P

The Mayor of San Francisco, London N. Breedproposed increasing funding to expand services to Asian victims of crime who have limited English proficiency by $500,000.

Since the pandemic began, he said, hate crimes and reported incidents against Asians and Pacific Islanders have increased exponentially. 

In 2021 alone, there was a 567 percent increase in reported hate crimes from 2020, reported the San Francisco Police Department-SFPD, while the Stop AAPI Hate coalition tracked more than 10,000 hate incidents from March 2020 through September 2021 nationwide.

"As we have seen hate crimes unfold in our city? And while accountability is critical in these cases, it was also clear from talking to many in the community that these victims also need mental health support, which can be difficult for people with language barriers. Through this funding, we will be providing support to those who need it, in the way they are most likely to accept it; that is the key to a victim-centered system," Breed said.

The proposed $500,000 investment includes $240,000 for clinical trauma recovery services in Cantonese for Asian victims of serious violent crime or family members of homicide victims with limited English proficiency; as well as for training and technical assistance for community providers to help build capacity in the community for these types of services.  

In turn, $160,000 will be used to expand treatment in Cantonese with a mental health service provider for Asian victims of crime with limited English proficiency who need such support as part of their recovery.

The budget will also be used to help build the capacity of community-based organizations to provide this type of service, as crimes against Asian seniors have increased.

Of the total budget, $59,000 is proposed to increase senior companion services throughout the city and help people with severe disabilities get to and from their homes for medical appointments, as well as with social interaction to break their isolation.

"With these investments from the Mayor's Office, more Asian victims of crime will have early access to culturally competent mental health services," said Christina Shea, deputy director/director of Clinical Services for RAMS, Inc. 

"This is a crucial piece of beginning recovery and healing: having a means to process their feelings of pain, shock, fear and anxiety, which could lead to more complex problems down the road if they are not supported from the beginning," he added.

Last year, the city invested more than $3.2 million in comprehensive victim services for the API community and created a Community Liaison Unit (CLU) within the SFPD to ensure that there was cultural and linguistic competency in reaching and serving victims. 

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