A new policy at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will encourage employees to take language classes in order to better serve crime victims who speak a language other than English, District Attorney Chesa Boudin said.

Under the policy that took effect this week, staff members who regularly work with crime victims, witnesses and survivors will be allowed to take language classes at City College of San Francisco during their work hours.

According to Boudin, the new policy is needed since, according to city data from 2019, 42 percent of San Franciscans speak a language other than English at home. The policy will ensure that people involved in the justice system and who speak a language other than English can better navigate the legal system, he said.

“Prioritizing language access prevents us from excluding large segments of our community from access to services,” Boudin said in a statement. “It is a priority of my office to promote increased accessibility; this policy will encourage our staff to continue to develop their language skills to better meet the needs of our victims, witnesses, and survivors.”

City College, which is free to San Francisco residents, currently offers classes for nine languages.

The new policy is part of a larger effort by Boudin to expand services for victims. Last year, Boudin was able to increase the number of victim advocates for the office, hiring an additional 10 victim advocates, eight of whom are fluent in a language other than English.