SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California Attorney General Rob Bonta sat down with several hundred crime victims on Monday in Sacramento.
The discussion was part of an event that’s considered one of the largest gatherings of survivors in the country.
At the convention center in downtown Sacramento, more than 600 crime victims and survivors from across the state are gathering for a two-day conference. Part of Monday’s program focused on how government can improve meeting the needs of crime victims.
“It’s like magic in the air; it’s super emotional, it’s super thick,” Lanaisha Edwards said.
Crime victims from across California gathered for the first time in two years for the annual Survivors Speak conference.
Edwards traveled from Los Angeles, she joined the network of victims when two of her brothers were murdered. She said the group has given her a space for comfort.
“I feel like it’s connected to my soul, my healing, my growth, it’s something that I feel like my family needs — that we all need,” Edwards said.
But beyond the network, survivors said there are more needs for crime victims across California.
Group leaders have called for the state to provide $3 billion in investments to expand access to compensation, mental health services, funds for community crime intervention groups, trauma recovery centers, and more resources for those re-entering society after incarceration.
“I heard them, and I’m here to support their work,” Attorney General Bonta said.
Bonta, who is running to retain the seat in the upcoming election, sat down with the group. He said boosting victim access to resources is one of his top priorities.
“It’s unacceptable that victims can’t get what they need to heal. So many people talk about victims, what we say needs to match what we do,” Bonta said.
On fighting crime, Bonta told the crowd he’s not taking the traditional tough on crime approach. He said he wants to take the “all of the above” approach.
He said that includes making sure communities have economic mobility, access to food and healthcare, plus ensuring targeted programs are being used like gun violence restraining orders, violence interruption groups, and investments to reduce recidivism
“Prevention is always the preferred path. Can’t prevent every crime, so you have to hold people accountable. So, there must be accountability, and on the backend, we must invest in rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. Our recidivism rates are unacceptable. that’s a public safety problem,” Bonta said.
Victims agree with Bonta.
“We need preventative services so we can stop creating more survivors,” Edwards said.
The group plans to rally and march at the State Capitol on Tuesday.