News Releases

December 17, 2020: District Attorney George Gascón Launches Crime Victims Advisory Board

Pamela J. Johnson, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has established the office’s first Crime Victims Advisory Board comprised of members who will advise him on best practices for helping victims of crime become survivors.

The District Attorney introduced founding members of his advisory board on Wednesday, fulfilling yet another campaign promise during his first days in office.

“Supporting victims in their journey to becoming survivors is fundamental to community safety. When a person has been harmed, wronged or experienced loss at the hands of another, they need justice and healing,” Gascón said.

“The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will pursue a system of parallel justice, where we not only seek legal prosecution for the offenders but also provide support services for victims in their evolution to becoming survivors.”

Last week, Gascón announced new policies that no longer required victims to testify in order to receive victim services. He also said his office would immediately begin extending services to families of those killed by law enforcement.

Crime Victims Advisory Board members include:

  • LaNaisha Edwards works with the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice as the Los Angeles Chapter Coordinator and is a Lead Case Manager at the Volunteers of America GRYD program. She recently cofounded United Communities for Peace and The Sister Circle Women Empowerment Group. Edwards has dedicated her life to helping crime victims recover from their trauma and breaking cycles of violence after her younger brother was murdered in 2010, followed by another brother’s murder in 2016.
  • Susan Hess, MSW, LSCW-IL, is a Clinical Associate Professor at USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. She is an advocate, consultant and relational organizer within the intersections of intimate partner violence through a trauma informed healing centered approach. Hess collaborates with social work students who were formerly incarcerated to provide support in navigating through school, licensing issues and pushing back on systemic barriers that students who were formerly incarcerated face, through a trauma informed, healing centered approach. Hess is the cofounder of Trauma Informed LA, whose mission is to foster resilient communities that promote healing and wellbeing through collaboration, education and community engagement. She has experienced intimate partner violence.
  • Enako Major currently serves as an advocate for the Jireh-Shalom Foundation, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice California and many other community organizations. Major is a survivor of childhood domestic, teenager domestic, gang and gun violence. For more than 20 years, she has worked to benefit communities on the margins through social justice advocacy.
  • Dr. Patricia Ramirez, DSW, MSW, is the founder of the Healing Justice Transformative Leadership Institute. Dr. Patty Ramirez has been a transnational social worker for nearly a decade. Her experience ranges from working with the immigrant and refugee populations, violence prevention, criminal justice policy advocacy and reproductive justice. She is a healing justice consultant and a core steering committee leader of Trauma Informed Los Angeles, where she provides strategic planning, program development and supports content curation around trauma informed and healing justice approaches. She was previously Director of Migrant Family Services at Jewish Family Services.
  • Skipp Townsend is cofounder and Executive Director of 2nd Call, a community-based organization designed to save lives by reducing violence and assisting in the personal development of high-risk individuals, proven offenders, ex-felons, parolees and others. Townsend is a gang expert and former documented Bloods gang member for more than 27 years. He also is known for his role in several documentaries and movies that shed light on external factors that cause African-American youth to turn to gangs and question the political and law enforcement response to the rise of gang culture.
  • Rebecca Weiker, MPH, is Program Director at Restore Justice, where she develops and implements programs for survivors, responsible parties and formerly incarcerated individuals. A survivor of violent crime after her sister was murdered, Weiker manages the organization’s Victim Offender Dialogue Program and develops community-based and in-prison Restorative Justice and Victim Awareness Program for survivors, responsible parties, district attorneys, legislators and community members.