S.F. District Attorney George Gascon at a recent press conference.

Children and youth who are witnesses of violent crime can get up to $5,000 in reimbursement for mental health counseling through California’s Victim Compensation Program, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced Wednesday.

The goals of the program are to provide counseling to prevent children and youth who are exposed to violence from suffering profound emotional trauma, Gascón said, and to aid them in reaching their full academic, social and emotional potential.

“Community violence has profound lasting effects on our children,” Gascón said.  “The district attorney’s office wants families to know they can access mental health services for children who are witnesses to violence.”

For more information, call Bethsaida Ruiz, the assistant chief of the Victim Compensation Program, at 415-551-9543.

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  1. I believe this funding is a result of AB 2809, a piece of legislation from 2008 from then Assemblymember (now Senator) Mark Leno. In language for the Victim Compensation Program it widened the definition of “derivative victim” to include child witnesses of crime, who frequently suffer from PTSD and other mental health issues after such traumatic events.

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