Helping Crime Victims
Offsetting the Cost of Crime
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earning
- Loss of support
- Funeral costs
- Travel costs
- Stolen cash
- Crime scene cleanup
- Other costs
On average, the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) receives over 10,000 new claims and pays an average $13 million per year on behalf of crime victims. VCAP is the payer of last resort. VCAP is able to reimburse insurance co-pays, out-of-network expenses and other out-of-pocket costs. Contact the program for more information. VCAP does not reimburse victims for pain and suffering or for stolen or damaged property (with some exceptions). Also, there are limits to how much money some benefits will provide. The overall maximum award is $35,000.
How to be Compensated
For more information, contact a local victim service provider.
Helping Victims Apply for Financial Assistance
As a victim service provider, to provide the most benefit to a crime victim filing for compensation, the following tips may assist you:
Provide assistance by working one-on-one with the victim to help them file the claim;
Keep up-to-date with compensation through trainings on Dependable Access for Victimization Expenses (DAVE), eligible VCAP expenses, and more;
Use the Victims Compensation Assistance Manual to remember the important information needed by VCAP to process a claim;
Create checklists so victims know what information is needed from them;
and provide the victim with an envelope to keep receipts related to the crime for easy reference.
Free Forensic Medical Exams
Pennsylvania law, 18 Pa. C.S. § 11.707, provides that the costs of the forensic rape examination and medications provided as a direct result of a sexual offense shall not be charged to the victim. The victim of a sexual offense does not need to ‘report’ the sexual offense or ‘talk’ to law enforcement in order for the costs to be paid by the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP).
Hospitals or licensed health care providers requesting reimbursement of costs associated with a forensic rape examination must have given the forensic evidence to the police, district attorney’s office or the county children and youth services agency, in order for the payments to be considered. If the evidence was not given to one of those entities, the hospital or licensed health care provider may be responsible for the costs of the forensic rape examination and medications provided.
Counties that have developed coordinating teams and implemented procedures to keep the ‘names’ of victims who have obtained forensic rape examinations anonymous must provide the name, address and date of birth of the victim on the claim form, in addition to the Anonymous Identification Number assigned to the forensic rape kit in order for the VCAP to reimburse the costs. Please submit itemized bills, which include the victim's name showing eligible forensic rape examination costs.
Sexual Assault Counseling Claims
On November 26, 2019, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 962 into law. The bill added a new section under 42 Pa.C.S. §9730.3, which provides for counseling services for victims of sexual abuse. $5 million must be transferred to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund to be distributed by the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) in the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to immediately begin the administration of this counseling program.
Unlike standard VCAP claims, sexual assault victims seeking counseling services related to their abuse under this new claim process are not required to have reported the assault to police or other authorities to be eligible to receive these counseling benefits. Other considerations typically taken up during the VCAP process, such as late filing, conduct, or non-cooperation, are also not included in this new claim process.
Eligibility: A direct victim of sexual abuse which occurred in Pennsylvania, who did not report or does not want to report the crime to authorities, is eligible to submit a claim for counseling services related to their abuse. Direct victims of sexual abuse who do not meet other eligibility requirements to file a standard VCAP claim, or who may have been denied a VCAP claim in the past, are also eligible for this benefit.
Counseling services is defined as mental health therapy performed by, or under the supervision of, a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed professional counselor, or licensed social worker. A direct victim of sexual abuse who at the time of the crime was 18 years of age or older is potentially eligible for up to $5,000 in counseling services. A direct victim of sexual abuse who at the time of the crime was under 18 years of age is potentially eligible for up to $10,000 in counseling services.
Based on the effective date of the law, counseling expenses can only be considered for counseling service dates on or after November 26, 2019 that are owed to the health care provider. NOTE: Only health care providers are eligible to receive direct payment for these claims (see Payment of Counseling Services below for more information).
Hospitals or Licensed Health Care Providers Must:
Inform victims of their choice in selecting Option #1, #2, or #3 on the claim form;
Inform them that they may be billed for services in instances where they have additional expenses beyond the forensic rape examination costs, such as x-rays or other medical treatment not associated with a forensic rape examination.
Inform them that they can submit a standard VCAP claim form, which can be obtained at by calling the VCAP at 800-233-2339.