Take Action to Stop Discrimination in Compensation!

…..ACTION ALERT..…ACTION ALERT…..ACTION ALERT.….

Dear Friends,

Our campaign to overturn discriminatory regulations of the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) urgently needs your action. We are coming down to the wire and pressure is needed for the final push. The CalVCP board denies compensation for rape and other violent crime to sex workers, formerly incarcerated people, and others. We are campaigning for these regulations to be removed.

The CalVCP has agreed to review Regulation 649.56, which excludes sex workers from compensation.  Part of the review process included an open meeting in Sacramento called by CalVCP, September 9, and we had an extraordinary speak-out  (https://uspros.net/2013/10/16/rape-survivors-and-other-women-testify-in-sacramento-to-remove-regulations/).  Powerful statements from sex workers and other women around the state who had suffered terrible rapes brought tears to the eyes of many. Just as terrible were the stories of a dismissive and uncaring response from the authorities.  CalVCP’s chief legal counsel said he would take a proposal on Regulation 649.56 to the Board meeting on December 12.

► We urgently need strong messages to go to the Board members letting them know that people in California are opposed to Regulation 649.56. Please see a model letter below that you can adapt and send in. Also, please call in and let CalVCP know you support the removal of this discriminatory regulation and say why, at 916-491-3600 or 800-777-9229.  

 Although this particular review is on Regulation 649.56, we are also campaigning against Regulation 649.4(b), which excludes ex-prisoners from compensation.  This injustice is compounded by the fact that rather than the state taking responsibility to compensate victims, they extract payments called “restitution” from prisoners, many of whom are inside for non-violent offenses including crimes of poverty.  Collection continues after release from prison.

Please add your name to the list of signers to the paragraph below as soon as you can and send back to us so we can let the Board know how many people support this action.  Please also distribute it to family, friends and your networks and ask others to sign it. Thanks!

********************

We the undersigned:

Oppose Regulation 649.56 Involvement in the Qualifying Crime of Prostitution, which is used to deny compensation to victims of rape and other violence who are sex workers, and Regulation 649.4(b) that excludes people who are on felony probation and parole from getting compensation.  We are asking that this discriminatory language be urgently removed.

These discriminatory regulations blame victims for the violence perpetrated against them, and assume that rape and other violence is not as serious for some women as it is for others.

Signers so far include:
Alexandria House;  ACLU  of Northern California; BAYSWAN, Bay Area Sex Worker Advocacy Network; California Crime Victims; Coalition on Homelessness/SF; Californians United for Responsible Budget; Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project; Every Mother is a Working Mother Network; Faithful Fools Street Ministry; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; Global Women’s Strike; Harm Reduction Coalition; LA CAN; Legal Action for Women; Long Beach Area Peace Network; Los Angeles Community Action Network; National Lawyers Guild/San Francisco Bay Area Chapter; Orange County Peace Coalition; Sex Workers’ Outreach Project/Bay Area; US PROStitutes Collective; Veterans For Peace chapters 067 and 110.

MODEL LETTER: TO COMPENSATION BOARD RE DISCRIMINATORY REGULATIONS

Send your letter to: Geoffrey.Feusahrens@vcgcb.ca.gov.

Copy to Wayne.Strumpfer@vcgcb.ca.gov

Subject: Remove Regulation 649.56

Dear Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board,

I’m writing to voice my opposition to Regulation 649.56 Involvement in the Qualifying Crime of Prostitution of the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP). I also object to Regulation 649.4(b), which denies formerly incarcerated women on felony probation or parole compensation for rape or other violent crime.]

[Here, you can say something about your situation and why you feel strongly about this issue].

Regulation 649.56 has been used to deny compensation to victims of rape and other violence, who are sex workers where the “crime occurred as the direct result of the activity related to prostitution”.

This regulation institutionalizes the prejudice that sex workers can’t be raped, that rape is not as serious for sex workers as it is for other women, or that sex workers are undeserving of support. It blames victims for the violence perpetrated against them.

If sex workers can be discriminated in this way it means that any victim can be judged unworthy and refused.  Formerly incarcerated women on felony probation or parole are also denied compensation under Regulation 649.4(b).  Some are sex workers.  Discriminating between victims who are deemed ‘worthy’ victims and those who are not is not ok.

Compensation is official acknowledgement of what victims suffer and money which can help with housing, healthcare and security. It is vital to recovery.

In denying some women, CalVCP is putting all women at risk. Judging some women as unworthy of protection and support, signals to violent men that some of us are fair game; anyone woman can potentially be judged unworthy. Stigmatizing victims and encouraging violent offenders in their actions undoubtedly leads to more violence.

I urge you to end this injustice and urgently remove these discriminatory regulations from CalVCP.  Compensation, protection and justice are every victim’s right.

Sincerely,

(Your name)

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