Office of Victims' Services
Who We Are
We help crime victims transcend their trauma by funding victim service agencies that work directly with victims, providing financial help to victims through the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP), and collaborating with criminal justice and allied professionals who advocate and respond to the needs of victims.
What We Do
First and foremost, our primary mission is to help Crime Victims.
To achieve this mission, the Office of Victims' Services(OVS) helps victims of crime get the services and support they deserve by funding local programs that:
- Deliver 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. For more information on VOCA click here.
- Provide procedural services to victims of crime 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. For more information on RASA/VOJO click here.
- Develop federal STOP Violence Against Women (VAWA) programs. These funds aid victims by creating collaborating teams that work to make the process easier for victims and improve linkages to victims services as they work through the trauma of their victimization. For more information on STOP click here.
To find information on the victim service agencies in your area, click here.
We 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.
We provide training resources to victim service providers and allied professionals.
OVS, through a contract with the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Institute (PDAI), provides three (3) Foundational Academy trainings each year for new victim service providers and offers various topical trainings annually to aid victim service staff in meeting their organizational training requirements.
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.
Lastly, 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), which is available to all law enforcement professionals.