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New Support For Crime Victims On Central, South Coasts

It’s a trauma that can be hard to handle. Being a crime victim can leave difficult emotional scars.  Now, there's new support for crime victims on the Central and South Coasts.

Arlene Stepputtat knows all the trauma of being a crime victim.  The Santa Barbara County woman has been a crime victim three times in her life.

As a college student living in England, her best friend, a fellow student was murdered. Then, years later she was hit and seriously injured by a DUI driver. And, more recently, she was mugged while walking home from a restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara.

Now, Stepputtat is stepping up to help fellow crime victims. She’s part of a program offering a new victim support group. The program is called “Healing Ourselves.” The eight week long pilot project is being offered by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, and the “Freedom To Choose Project.”

Silvia Uribe is a Victim-Witness Program Advocate with the District Attorney’s Office. She says there are support services for crime victims to get individual therapy. But, for some, that’s not enough.

Stepputtat says the groups can be an important extension of support for crime victims who are still dealing with unresolved trauma from being a crime victim years or even decades later.  The first round of the free groups will begin February 25th. The groups will meet Tuesday nights at Santa Barbara’s First United Methodist Church, which is at 305 Anapamu Street.  You can get registration information at

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.