Payments to victims now can include prostitutes
California’s three-member Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board voted unanimously Thursday to overturn a regulation barring victims of sexual assault from receiving restitution if they work in the sex trade.
The 14-year-old policy says victims of a violent crime may be denied compensation if they were involved in the events leading up to that crime, including mutual combat, illegal drug-related activity and prostitution.
Advocates for sex workers argued the regulation was discriminatory, essentially blaming prostitutes for their own rape and putting other women at greater risk of attack.
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“I find Rule 649.56 repugnant,” said board Chairwoman Marybel Batjer, “and I don’t understand why it was passed in 1999.”
The decision followed testimony from sex workers and their advocates, including Kristen DiAngelo, a former prostitute who told board members about a rape she experienced in Sacramento in 1983.
“What happens when you segregate a population that you deem unworthy,” DiAngelo told the board, “is you give predators a training ground” to attack other women.
– Alexei Koseff
BY THE NUMBERS
California has local pockets of wealth, but none of its counties can compete with communities near Washington, D.C., a new Census Bureau report indicates. The bureau calculated that five counties or “county equivalents” in Northern Virginia had the nation’s highest median household incomes in 2012, topped by $121,250 in Falls Church, Va. California, at $58,322, was 10th overall. Santa Clara County was California’s most affluent county in 2012, with a median income of $91,195, while Trinity County, at $35,162, was the poorest.
– Dan Walters