Oct 12, 2022
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors announced the development of a forthcoming Sexual Assault Council, with a focus on providing a number of support services for local survivors of sexual violence.
Recommendations for the new council from the Los Angeles County Commission for Women’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Assault included:
“The county must invest in the coordination necessary to ensure that residents across the county can have equal access to the resources they require to heal. Further, the county must support the identification and implementation of best practices to prevent and reduce the impact of sexual violence in our communities through the creation of a Sexual Assault Council,” the committee said in its recommendation.
The Los Angeles Sexual Assault Council is a welcome and necessary initiative that will undoubtedly offer essential resources and support to survivors throughout the area. Dordulian Law Group (DLG) reached out to representatives of the Supervisors who introduced the motion for the new Council – Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis – in an effort to acquire additional information for our readers.
The L.A. County Commission for Women’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Assault voted to recommend that the Board establish a Sexual Assault Council. The Commissioners brought their recommendations to the Board for action.
We are currently waiting for a 30-day report back from the CEO about the structure and composition of the Sexual Assault Council. Based on that report, the Board will need to take additional action to officially create the body.
The Supervisors have not discussed any priorities yet, although the Ad Hoc Committee’s report outlines some existing issues. For example, the report indicates that the number of SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) sites has decreased from 21 in 2006 to 9 in 2022, and those sites are not geographically organized, which means that survivors may have to travel long distances to receive services. That’s an example of an issue the Council could work on. Members of the new Council, who are experts on this issue, are expected to bring their own priorities.
We are waiting for a 30-day report back from the CEO on the structure and composition of the new Council. We will know more based on their recommendations and future Board action to officially create the body.
There is currently no agency in the County dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault. The closest related body is the Domestic Violence Council, but sexual assault is much broader, impacting more than those in intimate relationships.
Further, the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Assault outlined in their report issues with coordination between various agencies and jurisdictions within the County. The Council will provide three main benefits to the County. First, it will provide a dedicated forum for stakeholders to discuss the specific issue of sexual assault. Second, it will provide a space for stakeholders to coordinate the allocation of resources, to advocate for additional resources, and to research and implement best practices when responding to sexual assaults. This will help to improve our response to sexual assault survivors. Third, it will provide a body dedicated to data collection and prevention efforts. Coordinated data collection and prevention efforts are critical to reducing sexual violence in our communities.
Unfortunately, sexual assault is stigmatized in our society, which means that it can be difficult for survivors to speak out and seek help. The data around sexual assaults is likely an undercount as many sexual assaults go unreported. AB 2777 will provide survivors with much needed additional time to bring claims against their attackers. However, we must do more as a society to make survivors feel safe reporting sexual assaults. Creating a safe environment for survivors to report sexual assault is something that the new Council could work on. AB 2777 will provide an avenue for relief to many who have felt too scared or who have had other reasons for not filing lawsuits earlier.
Additionally, Supervisor Kuehl’s office provided the following link with some helpful information related to the original Sexual Assault Council motion.
DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, began his career as a sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. During his tenure with the District Attorney’s Office, Dordulian saw firsthand how important resources such as mental health services, victim advocates, and dedicated support networks can be for survivors of sexual violence.
Following the announcement of the Los Angeles Sexual Assault Council, Dordulian expressed his support and enthusiasm for the initiative.
“Establishing a Sexual Assault Council to help support local survivors of sexual violence and provide critical resources is something that will no doubt have a positive impact on countless lives. And this sends an important message to everyone that the Board of Supervisors is committed to protecting constituents from sexual assault while also addressing the needs of victims. I fully support such an initiative and am thrilled to see it move forward,” Dordulian said.
Advocates wishing to help combat sexual violence in the Los Angeles area can get involved with local organizations such as Four4Consent, a nonprofit working with event organizers and venues to create a safer and more positive nightlife culture for all Angelenos.
Additionally, organizations such as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) offer nationwide services to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Sam Dordulian is a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council as part of a commitment to the nationwide anti-sexual violence movement.
Dordulian Law Group is a full-service firm representing survivors of sexual assault, abuse, harassment, and misconduct throughout California as well as nationwide. As a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, worked as a sex crimes prosecutor, successfully obtaining life sentences against some of the state’s most heinous criminals. Since founding his firm in 2008, Dordulian and his experienced SAJE Team have successfully recovered over $100,000,000 for clients.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.