VENTURA, Calif. -- The Ventura County Family Justice Service Center is expanding to help victims of hate crimes.
The center has assisted over 4,000 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.
The center will now also provide victims of hate crimes with one-stop access to victim advocacy, assistance with obtaining restraining orders, civil legal services, counseling, emergency financial assistance, emergency housing and many other services provided on-site by staff from 15 different Ventura County agencies and community-based nonprofits.
The Ventura County District Attorney's Office said a hate crime is defined as a crime which anyone who by force or threat, willfully injures, intimidates, interferes with, oppresses, or threatens another person.
Hate crimes also include any person who knowingly defaces, damages, or destroys the real or personal property of another person because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim's. Those characteristics can include the following: disability, gender, nationality, race of ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.
If you or someone you know is a victim of a hate crime, help is available at the Ventura County Family Justice Center at no cost.
You can learn more about available services, call Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., (805) 652-7655, text (805) 947-7981, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If assistance is needed after hours, 211 Info Link Ventura County is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via phone or at 211ventura.org. This free confidential service will connect people across Ventura County to the resources they need. If emergency assistance if needed, call 911.