I am interning at the San Francisco District Attorney Office’s in downtown San Francisco. In the District Attorney Office’s, I am placed in the Victim Services Department. We provided advocacy and support to victims of crime and witnesses to crimes. The services we provided include: assistance with “Victim Compensation Program” claims; crisis intervention and emergency assistance; help navigating the criminal justice system; resources and referrals; restitution; witness relocation; transportation; and much more. All services are free of cost.
As an intern I have a variety of duties, including filling files, updating cases and meeting with clients. In the office, there are many victim advocates that need assistance with constant updates on their cases that are in court. At the same time, as an intern I get to make contact with the clients who come to our office to check them in or to see what services they might need. Furthermore, I assist the clients with filling out the Victim Compensation Program application – those who qualify may receive financial assistance for losses resulting from a crime when they cannot be reimbursed by other sources. The program can assist with medical, dental, mental health counseling, wage income financial support, funeral burial, and job retraining.
I am in a program called Students Rising Above and they help students find internships during the summer. There are many people who applied to this internship and the selection process was competitive and included an interview that took place in February. Two weeks after this interview, I was notified and offered an internship position. Later, I was then notified if I was interested in the Victim Services department. I looked into the services that were offered and was later contacted by a victim advocate to have a phone interview. He explained to me more of what the internship in their department was consisted of. He then said if this is something that you are interested in then we would gladly like to have you on our team.
On my first day of my internship, I was extremely nervous and excited to begin. I had no idea what to expect from the people that I would be surrounded by because it was a completely new environment for me. Once I met the victim advocates I realized that I was going to have the opportunity to learn about many aspects of the legal system. The relationship with the other interns is great because we each have an interest in the legal field that makes the internship twice as better. The advocates that I work with are great because they are willing to teach us about the many different cases that they are involved in. Furthermore, they are very encouraging about letting me learn and even go to the courts to see how it is all being played out. For the summer, I hope to gain knowledge about the other side of the legal system through the eyes of the victims.
– Estela Lozano, ’16