County Gets Money for Crime Victims

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

April 19, 2024

The County District Attorney’s Office is getting an influx of money to continue funding a trio of programs that help crime and domestic violence victims.

The three items, approved by Supervisors are coming from State agencies for specific uses and will help the County continue the programs for at least the rest of 2024.

CalVCB Grant

The D.A.’s Office is getting more than $714,000 from the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB), according to a report from acting D.A. Eric Dobroth. (Elected D.A. Dan Dow continues to be away from his office deployed overseas in the military reserves.)

The grant runs through June 30, 2027 and will come in installments of $238,000 a year. The money would go to the County’s Christopher G. Money Victim Witness Assistance Center and “ are provided specifically to offset the cost of assisting victims of crime who have applied for state reimbursement compensation for crime-related financial losses,” Dobroth’s report said.

Part of what the Money Center does is help crime victims with claim applications to CalVCB. The Money Center’s staff also investigates victims’ claims and verify losses for CalVCB, which can speed the process, which Dobroth said helps victims get their compensation quicker. 

He reported that the Money Center staff “work with the state to process victim compensation claims for state reimbursement of crime-related financial losses within 90 days of receiving an application.” 

The program tracks its clients and how they fare with the State’s compensation system.

“The most recent fiscal year data from CalVCB (FY 22-23) for San Luis Obispo County,” Dobroth reported, “reflects a claims-verified and approved rate of 100%.”

The Director at the Money Center, Jessica Yates said on the department’s website, “The San Luis Obispo County Victim Witness Assistance Program is one of the special programs designed to reduce the trauma and insensitive treatment victims and witnesses may experience following a crime. Since 1977, we have been committed to helping crime victims and their families reorganize and reclaim their lives.”

The County has had a funding agreement with CalVCB since 2021 and now, it’ll continue to the end of the 2026/27 fiscal year. But crime victims won’t be paid out of this grant.

“The funds from this agreement,” Dobroth said, “will continue to cover salaries and benefits for staff, claims verification staff, and a portion of the Victim Witness Director’s salary. Additionally, in accordance with the agreement, these funds will help cover computer, operating, and training expenditures.”

The Christopher G. Money, is named in honor of long-time Superior Court Judge, the late-Christopher Money and is located in the County Courthouse Annex, Room 384 at Monterey and Santa Rosa Street in Downtown San Luis Obispo. Call (805) 781-5821 to contact them or see the website at: for information.

Underserved Victims

The D.AS.’s Office also got a $199,000 grant from the Unserved/Underserved Victims Advocacy and Outreach Program, which is coming out of the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) but originates with the Federal Government. 

This grant will cover from Jan. 1, 2024 to Dec. 31, 2024 and it too will go to the Christopher Money Victim Witness Assistance Center. The County had to provide a $49,000 match  boosting the annual award to over $246,000. The overall grant program runs annually through 2027.

The main goal of this program, said Dobroth, “is to improve the safety of unserved/underserved victims in California by establishing victim advocate positions dedicated to serving a specified population. In addition, the UV Program is designed to improve coordination of crisis and support services among local agencies and groups for an enhanced response to the specified victim population and improve community awareness of this program for that specific victim population.”

This over $240,000 will extend the jobs for two “limited-term victim advocates” that work at the Money Center. But it may not be enough.

“The annual salary and benefit cost to extend the 2.00 FTE Limited-Term Victim Advocate III positions,” Dobroth said, “is estimated at $277,190. The cost of these position extensions will be offset with funding from the UV Grant estimated at 50% ($138,595) and 50% ($138,595) from the Victim Witness Assistance Grant Award ($138,595 + $138,595 = $277,190).”

This victim assistance program would “Enhance the safety of elder crime victims in San Luis Obispo County,” Dobroth said, “by maintaining dedicated advocates, as well as other staff, and volunteer support.”

They will also work with local law enforcement to help train them in how to deal with elderly victims.

Domestic Violence

The D.A.’s Office also awarded some money to a non-profit organization that works with domestic violence victims, using money collected through marriage license fees.

Once again working through the Money Victim Witness Center, the County awarded over $44,000 to Lumina Alliance, an already established domestic violence shelter program. Lumina Alliance grant would “provide additional funding for shelter-based emergency and support services for victims of domestic violence and their children,” Dobroth said.

Lumina Alliance is bi-lingual and works with Spanish-speakers. “During Fiscal Year 2022-23,” Dobroth said, “Lumina Alliance provided the following bilingual [Spanish/English] services for domestic violence survivors: three 24-hour emergency shelters with a total of 44 beds; 24-hour crisis and information hotline; Individual, family, and group therapy; temporary restraining order support with court accompaniment; case management; information and referrals; and community education and outreach. 

“There were 137 total shelter clients which provided 4,162 bed nights to 57 children and 80 adults.”

The Alliance has offices and shelters in Paso Robles, Atascadero and SLO. Lumina Alliance is also part of the County’s Intimate Partner Violence Coalition.

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