Mayor London Breed Proposes Funding in Budget to Expand Services for Limited English Proficient Asian Victims of Crime
New investments will provide stronger access to mental health support for limited English speakers in the Asian community
San Francisco, CA — Today, Mayor London N. Breed announced new proposed funding to expand services for Asian victims of crime. The $500,000 investment in her proposed budget will increase services and capacity to serve Asian victims of crime who are limited in their English proficiency.
Since the pandemic began, reported hate crimes and incidents against Asians and Pacific Islanders have increased exponentially. In 2021 alone, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) reported in January of 2022 that there was a 567% increase in reported hate crimes from 2020. The Stop AAPI Hate coalition tracked more than 10,000 incidents of hate from March 2020 through September 2021 nationally.
“As we’ve seen hate crimes play out in our city, our Police Department has responded to make arrests and hold people accountable,” said Mayor Breed. “And while accountability is critical in these cases, it also became clear in talking to many in the community that these victims also need mental health support, which can be difficult for those with language barriers. Through this funding, we will be getting the support to those who need it, in the way that they are most likely to accept it—that is the key to a victim-centered system.”
The proposed $500,000 investment includes:
- $240,000 – For dedicated trauma recovery clinical services in Cantonese for limited English proficient Asian victims of serious violent crimes or family members of homicide victims; and for training and technical assistance for community-based providers to help build capacity in community for these types of services.
- $160,000 – To expand treatment in Cantonese at a community-based mental health service provider for limited English proficient Asian victims of crime who need mental health support as part of their recovery; to help build capacity in community-based organization(s) to provide this type of service as crimes against Asian seniors, especially, has increased over time. Hate crimes and incidents are a priority.
- $59,000 – For increased senior escort services citywide to help get severely disabled folks to and from their homes for medical appointments and for social interaction to break their isolation.
“With these investments from the Mayor’s Office, more Asian victims of crime will have early access to culturally competent mental health services,” said Christina Shea, Deputy Chief/Director of Clinical Services at RAMS, Inc. “This is a crucial piece to begin the recovery and healing—to have a means to process their feelings of grief, shock, fear, and anxiety, which could lead to more complex issues in the future, if not supported early on.”
“During a time when our community is experiencing extreme stress, anxiety, and fear, supporting culturally competent and in-language support is more critical than ever. We uplift any effort that not only destigmatizes but expands mental health services for our API community. Healing starts with an intentional effort to meet community members where they are and with respect for their culture. Investments in this work are pivotal as we recover from our collective trauma,” said Sarah Wan, Executive Director of Community Youth Center (CYC), an organization that provides wraparound services for victims of crime, focusing on limited English proficient API victims of hate incidents and crimes.
Mayor Breed has invested in growing victim services citywide, including for the limited English proficient communities and hate crime victims. Last year, she invested over $3.2 million in wraparound victim services for the API community and created a Community Liaison Unit (CLU) within the SFPD to ensure that there would be cultural and linguistic competency to reach and serve victims. There is ongoing $2.6 million for community-led, multiracial safety walks staffed by CYC and the Street Violence Intervention Project (SVIP) as well as $2.5 million for community-based wraparound victim services and a citywide senior escort program led by Self Help for the Elderly to prevent violence in the first place.
“This investment represents a commitment to support our diverse communities in San Francisco,” said Dr. Sheryl Davis, Director, Human Rights Commission. “Through the Office of Racial Equity, the Human Rights Commission will invest over two million dollars to address hate incidents and support communities and groups across the City to address bias and discrimination. The success of this program requires cross-cultural collaboration, and we are all committed to addressing the root causes of bias and inequity. We will continue to address issues of hate across the intersections including, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and in this instance the need for in-language support. This is one example of how we provide supports based on the community need.”
What was clear from these providers was that there was a need to strengthen access to mental health services for victims who faced additional obstacles in getting help after the death of a loved one or being targeted for violence due to language and cultural barriers—victim advocates identified this is a key gap that they could not provide without the City’s help in growing these resources.