The VSAC advises PCCD on policies, priorities, and performance standards for victims’ services and compensation.
The purpose of VSAC is to serve in an advisory capacity to PCCD and to assure that the voices, needs and perspectives of all crime victims/survivors will be considered in the development of services, services standards, policies, funding priorities, legislation and outcomes.
VSAC Meeting Dates for 2017:
January 31, 2017
- May 2, 2017
- August 2, 2017
- October 31, 2017
VSAC oversees two subcommittees that focus on priorities outlined in its current strategic plan. They are the Access to Services Subcommittee and the Funding Subcommittee. Each VSAC member was asked to serve on one of the two subcommittees, along with a number of individuals who are not on VSAC, to ensure appropriate discipline, size, and geographic representation.
Access to Services Subcommittee:
The goal of the Access to Services Subcommittee is to ensure statewide access to core victim services for victims of criminal and juvenile offenders. To achieve this goal, the subcommittee enlisted the Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg to conduct a statewide assessment of crime victims’ unmet needs and service gaps to determine how best to provide them with access to core services. The assessment will provide a framework for use in future planning, enabling PCCD to respond appropriately to help strengthen victim services. The subcommittee will also consider the changing demographics of Pennsylvania’s population, and the impact that may have on crime victim services.
The goal of the Funding Subcommittee is to generate and align funding for crime victim services to meet the needs of crime victims and service providers in Pennsylvania. To achieve this goal, the subcommittee has been identifying and reviewing federal and state funding requirements for victim services (including crime victim compensation), the types of services that are currently funded, are working to make funding available for procedural services regardless of the age of the offender, and are evaluating and making recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of local policy boards. In addition, it was a limited-term workgroup of the Funding Subcommittee that recommended to VSAC that 70% of the adult penalty assessment over the minimum $60 be returned to the county where it was assessed and collected to be used for procedural services. VSAC agreed with the recommendation and the new policy was put into place on July 1, 2013.
VSAC Strategic Planning 2015
In December 2014, President Obama signed into law the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriation Act, 2015”. The law raised the VOCA cap from $745 Million to $2.361 Billion, more than tripling the amount of VOCA funding that the federal government provided to states in federal fiscal year 2015-2016 to help crime victims. For Pennsylvania, this meant a four-fold increase in federal VOCA funding, from $17Million to $77Million. This unprecedented funding increase presented numerous opportunities to greatly expand the capacity of the commonwealth’s victim service providers to meet the critical needs of victims of all types of crimes. As a result of this significant funding increase, VSAC undertook a year-long comprehensive strategic planning process in 2015. The below document, “2015 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Strategic Planning Process and Outcomes” provides a brief overview of the issues driving the year-long strategic planning process for the distribution of VOCA funding. VSAC’s goal was to establish a framework for the distribution of VOCA funding that would ensure stable and predictable funding for the delivery of direct services to crime victims in Pennsylvania over the next several years while also providing the opportunity for new and innovative programs to obtain VOCA funding to promote new or enhanced service delivery for crime victims.
As part of the strategic planning process, VSAC needed to gather information about the current status of victim services, regardless of funding streams including assessing the capacity of victim service agencies, the unmet needs of victims, underserved populations, barriers to service, emerging issues and current demographics. A variety of information was provided to VSAC that included both state and national sources that guided VSAC’s approach on how best to allocate the increased VOCA funds. These select items included:
2015 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Strategic Planning Process and Outcomes (PDF)
Vision 21 Transforming Victim Services Executive Summary (PDF)
Vision 21 Transforming Victim Services Final Report (PDF)
Victims Survey - A VSAC 5-Question Survey to Various Stakeholders on Victim Needs & Barriers (PDF)
VSAC Capacity Building Survey Final Report (PDF)
Salary Range by County Class (PDF)
2013 VOCA Survey National Perspective (PDF)
2013 VOCA Survey Pennsylvania Profile (PDF)
BJS National Victimization Survey 2013 (PDF)