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Office of Victims' Services

Who We Are

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We help crime victims transcend their trauma by funding victim service agencies that work directly with victims, provide financial help to victims through the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP), and collaborating with criminal justice and allied professionals that advocate and respond to the needs of victims.

What We Do

First and foremost, our primary mission is helping Crime Victims. 

WE:

Meet the Needs of Victims of Crime.  The Office of Victims' Services (OVS) helps victims of crime get the services and support they deserve. 

    • OVS funds 159 local programs to provide direct services to crime victims through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds.  These programs are typically local non-profit agencies and county victim witness offices.  Direct services include, but are not limited to, advocacy; victims' rights information; transportation; civil legal services; counseling; sheltering; relocation, etc. 
    • OVS funds 101 local programs to provide procedural services to crime victims through the state Rights and Services Act (RASA) and the state Victims of Juvenile Offenders (VOJO) funding streams.  These programs are typically located within the county victim witness and juvenile probation departments.  Procedural services assist the victim as their case goes through the juvenile/criminal justice process.
    • OVS funds over 30 agencies to develop federal STOP Violence Against Women (VAWA) programs.  These funds aid victims by creating collaborating teams that work to make the process easier for women victims as they work through the trauma of their victimization.
    • Information for these agencies providing services can be found here.  

Offset the cost of crime.  OVS is committed to helping ease victims' financial stress and other needs through the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP).  VCAP can help offset the cost of the crime by providing reimbursement for medical expenses; counseling; loss of earnings; loss of support; funeral costs; travel costs; childcare; stolen cash; relocation; crime scene cleanup; and other financial costs related to the crime.  VCAP cannot pay for property loss.

Give a voice to school children who often do not want to report violence.  PCCD has programs to make sure children have the confidence to step forward. 

Providing Resources to Allied Professionals 

Training victim service professionals to support and enhance their invaluable role in serving victims of crime: OVS ensures local victim service programs receive approximately 40-hours of initial training and then require staff working directly with victims to receive 10-hours of annual training.  OVS, through a contract with the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Institute (PDAI), provides two (2) to three (3) Foundational Academy trainings each year for new victim service providers.  PDAI also offers a number of topical trainings annually to aid victim service staff in obtaining their 10-hour annual requirement.  PDAI provides approximately 75 trainings per year on VCAP.  Lastly, Pennsylvania offers virtual online training through the Pennsylvania Victim Services Training (PVST) portal hosted by the Pennsylvania State University that contains web-based, interactive learning modules on topics critical to improving victim advocates' ability to provide direct services to victims of crime.

Training law enforcement officers online: Training law enforcement professionals is not easy, especially when budget cuts mean less overtime and fewer hours for police.  Online training is the answer.  Through a contract with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, OVS provides funding to host victim services courses on the Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network (PAVTN).