SF District Attorney

District Attorney Boudin Announces New Victim Services AAPI Unit and Ongoing Work to Increase Trauma Treatment for Victims

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Twitter: @SFDAOffice
CONTACT: Rachel Marshall / (415) 416-4468 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org
Director of Communications / Policy Advisor / Assistant District Attorney  

SAN FRANCISCO –Today, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announces that the District Attorney’s Office’s Victim Services Division (“VSD”) has launched a new Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Unit, and has hired Dr. Paul Lam to be its Director.  The Unit will serve and support the many AAPI community members in San Francisco, who have historically been underserved.  As part of its commitment to supporting victims, the District Attorney’s Office is also working to expand available trauma treatment for AAPI crime victims.

 “I am proud of the work of our office to expand services to our AAPI community, including through increasing language access and support for AAPI crime victims,” said District Attorney Boudin.  “At the same time, we know that the AAPI community has historically been underserved, and I am thrilled that Dr. Paul Lam will be directing our new unit to ensure all AAPI victims of crime receive the services and support they need.  I will also continue to advocate for greater access for all victims to trauma recovery clinicians so that all crime survivors have the support they need to heal.”

The launch of the new unit is seen by AAPI leaders as a much-needed addition to the city’s resources for AAPI crime victims. Renowned attorney and co-founder of the Asian Law Caucus Dale Minami, known for his work in overturning the conviction of Fred Korematsu, thanked District Attorney Boudin for his ongoing commitment to supporting the AAPI community. “When District Attorney Chesa Boudin was elected, the Victim Services Division had only one Cantonese-speaking victim advocate to serve all of San Francisco–even though 25% of our city is Chinese,” Dale Minami said. “I am happy that he is collaborating with the API groups like the Alliance for Asian American Justice.  Chesa’s work to expand the District Attorney’s Victim Services Division and  Chief Kasie Lee’s efforts to increase language access and trauma treatment for vulnerable victims is timely and critical during this pandemic of anti-Asian violence.  The launch of this new AAPI Unit will further his tremendous progress to support the AAPI community in San Francisco.  Our community is truly better served by Chesa’s Boudin’s advocacy and I feel his vision of restorative justice is the best model to reduce crimes and protect AAPI’s  in the long term.”

The New VSD AAPI Unit
The new AAPI Unit aims to continue District Attorney Boudin’s work to improve support for AAPI crime victims in San Francisco.  San Francisco is home to many AAPI communities, including but not limited to Indian Americans, Chinese Americans, Taiwanese Americans, Filipino Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans, Japanese Americans, Pakistani Americans, Cambodian Americans, Hmong Americans, Thai Americans, Laotian Americans, Bangladeshi Americans, Burmese Americans, Nepalese Americans, Indonesian Americans, Sri Lankan Americans, Malaysian Americans, Bhutanese Americans, and Mongolian Americans — with all of these groups speaking different languages and dialects. 

Despite this, the AAPI community as a whole has historically been largely underserved by the Victim Services Division. Last year, only 16% of the 8,673 victims served by VSD were AAPI even though AAPIs make up over 34% of the City’s population — that’s the smallest group of victims served by VSD even though they are the second-largest group in San Francisco. When victims are not supported, they not only lack the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the court cases involving them, but they also are not provided linkages to necessary services such as victim compensation, mental health and trauma treatment, assistance with safety planning and relocation. The creation of this Unit is intended to address these gaps in services and effectively provide comprehensive support to crime victims in the AAPI community. 

The new Unit complements the progress District Attorney Boudin’s administration has made towards better serving the AAPI community.  Following DA Boudin’s hiring and appointment of Kasie Lee as Chief of Victim Services of the District Attorney’s Office, significant strides have been made to expand services to the AAPI community.  These improvements include creating a new language access policy for crime victims with limited English proficiency to have access to court interpreters in court; allowing public-facing staff to take language classes during business hours to improve their language proficiency to better serve non-English speaking community members; and spearheading an AAPI Elder Abuse Steering Committee with community partners to provide case coordination to support vulnerable elderly crime victims.

Director of the VSD AAPI Unit: Dr. Paul Lam
The new VSD AAPI Unit will be led by the newly hired Director, Dr. Paul Lam, who has been a licensed clinical psychologist for 19 years.  Most recently, he served as the Program Manager for the Adult/Older Adult System of Care, Behavioral Health Services at San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), providing oversight of intensive case management service delivery contracts. Prior to that, he was the Program Director of Sunset Mental Health Services at SFDPH, overseeing the work of clinical supervisors and clinicians. He has also served as a Clinical Director and Program Manager of the Children & Youth Services at the Asian Community Mental Health Services in Oakland. 

Dr. Lam has spent his career supporting members of the AAPI community throughout the Bay Area.  He has provided mental health services with a focus on monolingual AAPI adults, children, and families.  He has also managed clinics and programs that provide services for AAPI individuals and families, and has appeared on local radio programs on topics related to the mental health of the Chinese population. 

Dr. Lam was born and raised in Hong Kong and attended college and graduate school in the United States.  He received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2002 and his Masters in Clinical Psychology in1992. 

District Attorney Boudin Fights For Better Trauma Treatment for AAPI Crime Victims
The District Attorney’s Office has also identified a major gap in service to the AAPI community, namely trauma treatment for monolingual AAPI victims of crime. Studies show that approximately 50% of people who survive a traumatic violent injury experience psychological or social difficulties unless they are given some form of effective treatment. In San Francisco, however, in-language trauma recovery services for monolingual AAPI crime victims is limited and, in some cases, non-existent — which means AAPI crime victims are often left languishing and not given an opportunity to heal from the trauma and loss.

“In just the past year alone, we’ve seen cases involving mothers who have lost their child to gun violence or elderly AAPI victims were violently assaulted, but our team struggled with linking them to effective trauma treatment because of the language barrier. This is an equal access issue, and we are committed to ensuring that all victims have access to the services they deserve in the languages they speak,” said Kasie Lee, Chief of Victim Services of SFDA.

In fact, San Francisco has a Trauma Recovery Center (“TRC”) that is free for eligible San Francisco residents and has been lauded as a model for other centers across the state and nation. Founded in 2001, the TRC is a partnership between UCSF and the SF Department of Public Health developed to provide high quality, effective treatment to survivors of violent crime during the course of a 16-week program. Unfortunately, most monolingual AAPI victims of crime cannot benefit from this service since the program lacks capacity in Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai and most other AAPI languages. This is woefully inadequate for a city in which approximately 34% of the population is AAPI and 25% of the population is of Chinese descent and mostly Cantonese-speaking.

The District Attorney’s Office has been working to expand TRC’s budget to accommodate additional clinicians, including at least one Cantonese-speaking clinician. The Chief of Victim Services has been working with Quyen Ta of the Alliance for Asian America Justice, and they were quick to advocate alongside the District Attorney’s Office.  The District Attorney’s Office will continue to advocate for crime victims and will work to ensure that the mental health needs of AAPI crime victims are met.

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中文

地檢官博徹思宣布全新亞太裔受害者服務部門以及增加創傷治療的工作

三藩市—今天三藩市地檢官博徹思宣布,地檢署的受害者服務部 (Victim Services Division, VSD) 將成立一個全新的亞太裔部門,Paul Lam 博士將擔任其部門總監。 該部門將為三藩市長久以來未能獲得完善資源的亞太裔社區成員提供支援服務。 地檢署致力為罪案受害者提供服務,現在正竭力擴大針對亞太裔罪案受害者的創傷治療服務。

「我因地檢署為亞太裔社群增加語言服務和支援的工作而感到自豪。」地檢官博徹思說:「與此同時,我們知道亞太裔社群歷來面臨服務不足的問題,我很榮幸Paul Lam 博士將領導我們的新部門,他將確保所有亞太裔罪案受害者均能獲得所需的支援和服務。我還將繼續爭取讓所有受害者都能獲得創傷康復的診治機會,讓他們獲得治愈所需的支持。」

亞太裔社區的領袖均認為新部門的推出能為三藩市亞太裔罪案受害者提供急需的資源補充。以推翻Fred Korematsu 定罪的工作而聞名的亞洲法律聯會的著名律師和聯合創始人 Dale Minami 感謝地檢官博徹思支持亞太裔社區的承諾。 「當地檢官博徹思當選時,受害者服務部只有一名會說粵語的受害者倡導專員為整個三藩市服務,儘管我們市內 25% 的人口是華人」Dale Minami 說:「我很高興他與「美籍亞裔正義聯盟」等 亞太裔團體合作。在這場反亞裔的疫情期間,博徹思擴大地檢署受害者服務部門的工作、服務部主管李蕙儀為弱勢受害者增加語言服務和創傷治療,他們的努都是及時和關鍵的。這個新的亞太裔部門將進一步推動他在支持三藩市亞太裔社區方面取得巨大進展。 博徹思的倡導確實為我們的社區提供了更好的服務,我認為他對恢復性司法的願景是長期減少犯罪和保護 亞太裔的最佳模式。」

新的受害者服務部亞太裔部門

新的亞太裔部門旨在延續地檢官博徹思的工作,改善為亞太裔罪案受害者提供的支援。 三藩市是許多亞太裔社群的聚居地,包括但不限於美籍印度裔、美籍華裔、美籍台灣裔、美籍菲律賓裔、美籍越南裔、美籍韓裔、美籍日裔、美籍巴基斯坦裔、美籍柬埔寨裔、美籍苗族裔、美籍泰國裔、美籍老撾裔、 美籍孟加拉國裔、美籍緬甸裔、美籍尼泊爾裔、美籍印度尼西亞裔、美籍斯里蘭卡裔、美籍馬來西亞裔、美籍不丹裔和美籍蒙古裔——所有這些群體都講不同的語言和方言。

儘管如此,回首過往,整個亞太裔社群在很大程度上並沒有完善獲得由受害者服務部所提供的服務。 去年,儘管亞太裔佔該市內人口的 34% 以上,是三藩市的第二大群體,但受害者服務部的 8,673 名受害者中只有 16% 是亞太裔,這是該服務部最少數的受害者群體。當受害者得不到應有的支援時,他們不僅沒有機會有意義地參與在法庭處理的案件,而且他們也無法獲得所需的服務:例如受害者賠償、心理健康和創傷治療、安全規劃和搬遷援助。 亞太裔部門的成立旨在解決這些服務差距,並有效地為亞太裔社區的罪案受害者提供全面的支持。

新部門添補了在地檢官博徹思領導下更好地為亞太裔社區服務方面的進展, 繼地檢官博徹思任命李蕙儀律師為地檢署受害者服務部主管後,在擴大亞太裔社區的服務方面取得了重大進展。 這些進展包括為英語水平有限的罪案受害者制定新的語言政策,讓他們在法庭上能獲得口譯員、允許直接服務大眾的員工在工作時間參加語言課程,以提高他們的雙言能力,從而更好地為非英語社群服務、與社區夥伴成立「關注亞太裔受虐長者指導委員會」,建立案件協調系統以支援弱勢的年長罪案受害者。

受害者服務部亞太裔部門:Paul Lam 博士

新的受害者服務部亞太裔部門將由新聘請的Paul Lam 博士擔任總監,他擁有 19 年的臨床心理學執照。他現擔任三藩市公共衛生局的行為健康服務成人和老年人護理系統的項目經理,負責監督密集的病例管理。在此之前,他是衛生局的日落區心理健康服務的項目主任,負責監督臨床主管和臨床醫生的工作。他還曾擔任屋崙亞裔社區心理健康服務中心的兒童和青少年服務的臨床主任和項目經理。

林博士的職業生涯一直為灣區的亞太裔社區成員提供支持。他提供心理健康服務,重點關注非英語的亞裔成人、兒童和家庭。他還管理過為亞太裔個人和家庭提供服務的診所和項目,並出現在與華人心理健康相關的電台節目中。

林博士在香港出生和成長,並在美國完成大學和研究生學位。他於 2002 年獲得臨床心理學博士學位,並於 1992 年獲得臨床心理學碩士學位。

地檢官博徹思爭取為亞太裔罪案受害者提供更好的創傷治療

地檢署也發現了為亞太裔社區提供服務的一個主要差距,即為非英語的亞太裔罪案受害者提供創傷治療服務。研究表示,大約 50% 的曾經歷創傷暴力傷害的倖存者會出現心理或社交困難,除非他們得到某種形式的有效治療。然而,在三藩市,為非英語的罪案受害者提供合適的語言創傷治療服務是十分有限的,在某些情況下甚至不存在。這代表亞太裔罪案罪受害者經常處於痛苦之中,沒有機會從創傷和損失中痊癒.

「僅在過去的一年裡,我們就看到過一些案例涉及因槍支暴力而失去孩子的母親或遭到暴力襲擊的亞裔長者,由於語言障礙,我們的團隊難以有效的把受害者和創傷治療聯繫起來。這是一個平等機會的問題,我們致力確保所有受害者都能以他們所說的語言獲得應有的服務,」地檢署受害者服務主管李蕙儀說。

事實上,三藩市有一個創傷康復中心 (Trauma Recovery Center),向符合條件的三藩市居民免費開放,並被譽為全州和全國其他同類型中心的典範。 創傷康復中心成立於 2001 年,由三藩市加大和三藩市公共衛生局合辦,在為期 16 週的康復計劃中為暴力罪案倖存者提供高質量、有效的治療。不幸的是,大多數非英語罪案受害者無法從這項服務中受益,因為該計劃缺乏粵語、越南語、韓語、泰語和大多數其他亞太裔的語言服務。對於一個約有 34% 亞裔人口、25% 華裔且主要講粵語的城市來說,這服務差距遺憾地不夠。

地檢署一直在致力擴大創傷康復中心的預算,以容納更多的臨床醫生,包括至少一名講粵語的臨床醫生。受害者服務部的主管與「美籍亞裔正義聯盟」(Alliance for Asian American Justice) 的Quyen Ta聯繫,他們正積極地與地檢署合作。地檢署將繼續為罪案受害者爭取服務,並致力確保滿足亞太裔罪案受害者的心理健康需求。

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