Office of Victim Advocate

Office of Victim Advocate The Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate is dedicated to representing, protecting & advancing the individual & collective rights of crime victims.

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The Office of Victim Advocate's services are grounded in two separate but equally important foundations. First, Pennsylvania's Crime Victims Act legislates post-sentencing rights and services for victims of crime in the PA Department of Corrections and the PA Parole Board. It's OVA's responsibility to implement these rights. Second, the voices of victims have provided the inspiration and the framework for the development of our operations and various restorative justice programs. OVA was established in 1995 and diligently works to provide victims of crime with notifications, support, and advocacy services. Victim Assistance Coordinators on staff work with local advocates at community based victim service programs, as well as with advocates in county district attorney offices, to ensure that all victims of crime who have requested post-sentencing services receive the compassionate and individual attention that they require. Our office collaborates closely with fellow state agencies to develop and maintain a parallel continuum of restorative justice and trauma informed services to include:

the Inmate Apology Bank
the Victim Offender Dialogue Program
Board of Pardons advocacy services

The team at OVA is available by phone at 800-563-6399 Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and can provide information about these services and more:

Victim testimony
the Address Confidentiality Program and safety planning
S*x Offender Notifications (SORNA)
Resilient Voices speaking opportunities

Operating as usual

OVA is proud to be a part of this year's Vision of Hope virtual event with PCAR. Our new Acting Victim Advocate Suzanne ...
04/22/2021

OVA is proud to be a part of this year's Vision of Hope virtual event with PCAR. Our new Acting Victim Advocate Suzanne V. Estrella will share her own hope for the future of victim services across the Commonwealth at this event!

PCAR and WGAL anchor Danielle Woods invite you to our virtual celebration on April 24 from 7-8 p.m.featuring speaker Senator Katie Muth and an online silent auction benefiting the prevention of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. Register today. https://pcar.ejoinme.org/VOH2021

Child abuse is preventable. Check out what our friends at SARCC have shared!
04/22/2021

Child abuse is preventable. Check out what our friends at SARCC have shared!

We get a lot of questions about OVA’s role in administering the rights of crime victims. It’s National Crime Victims’ Ri...
04/21/2021

We get a lot of questions about OVA’s role in administering the rights of crime victims. It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, so what better time to talk about it!

OVA is responsible for providing victims whose offender has received a state sentence (2+ years in a correctional facility or on probation) with their post-sentencing rights. We work together with county district attorneys to ensure victims/survivors learn about these rights. They include the right to notification of their offender’s movement through the criminal justice process, the right to provide testimony to the PA Parole Board if/when their offender becomes parole eligible, the right to request certain conditions set by the PA Parole Board such as geographical restrictions or GPS monitoring.

Victims/survivors who choose to register with our office also have access to restorative justice programs, such as Victim Offender Dialogue, the Inmate Apology Bank, and the Resilient Voices speaker program. Learn more at www.ova.pa.gov.

Wondering if you should register with OVA? Call us Mon – Fri at 800-563-6399.

#NCVRW

We get a lot of questions about OVA’s role in administering the rights of crime victims. It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, so what better time to talk about it!

OVA is responsible for providing victims whose offender has received a state sentence (2+ years in a correctional facility or on probation) with their post-sentencing rights. We work together with county district attorneys to ensure victims/survivors learn about these rights. They include the right to notification of their offender’s movement through the criminal justice process, the right to provide testimony to the PA Parole Board if/when their offender becomes parole eligible, the right to request certain conditions set by the PA Parole Board such as geographical restrictions or GPS monitoring.

Victims/survivors who choose to register with our office also have access to restorative justice programs, such as Victim Offender Dialogue, the Inmate Apology Bank, and the Resilient Voices speaker program. Learn more at www.ova.pa.gov.

Wondering if you should register with OVA? Call us Mon – Fri at 800-563-6399.

#NCVRW

It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – a great time to spread the news that, should you ever become the victim of a ...
04/20/2021

It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – a great time to spread the news that, should you ever become the victim of a crime, you have rights. In short, they are:

1. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.

2. The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding.

3. The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding.

4. The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.

5. The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case.

6. The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.

7. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.

8. The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

9. The right to be informed, in a timely manner, of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.

10. The right to be informed of these rights.

The PA Office of Victim Advocate is dedicated to representing, protecting and advancing the individual and collective rights of crime victims.

#NCVRW

It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – a great time to spread the news that, should you ever become the victim of a crime, you have rights. In short, they are:

1. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.

2. The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding.

3. The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding.

4. The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.

5. The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case.

6. The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.

7. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.

8. The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

9. The right to be informed, in a timely manner, of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.

10. The right to be informed of these rights.

The PA Office of Victim Advocate is dedicated to representing, protecting and advancing the individual and collective rights of crime victims.

#NCVRW

The PA Office of Victim Advocate stood with survivors today at the Capitol. OVA fully supports proposals aimed at ensuri...
04/19/2021

The PA Office of Victim Advocate stood with survivors today at the Capitol. OVA fully supports proposals aimed at ensuring all victims of sexual abuse have a path towards justice. A “look back window” grants Pennsylvanians who were children at the time of their abuse an opportunity to seek justice. Our office believes that a retroactive window is an equitable way to ensure victims and survivors can access justice.

We unite in solidarity with Child USA and Director Marci A. Hamilton and applaud their commitment and tenacity to this crucial issue impacting Pennsylvanians across the state. Multiple grand jury reports and investigations point to the need for change. We hear the voices of victims and survivors, and now we must take action and allow survivors to seek justice in our courts.

Numerous studies indicate delayed reporting is the norm and not the exception. It is time for our laws to reflect this fact. As we work to build safe and healthy communities, we must refute cultural norms that promote victim blaming and victim shaming and demand offender accountability.

04/19/2021
Virtual Crime Victims’ Rights Rally 2021

Crime Victims' Rights Week is the perfect time to elevate the voices of victims/survivors. Please join advocates and allies in viewing and sharing this virtual rally video which features courageous crime survivors who illustrate that victims are not alone and that hope comes in many ways.

Thank you to the Crime Victims Alliance of Pennsylvania for organizing this virtual rally!

Finding Jenn's Voice is the intimate partner violence documentary that OVA uses in our domestic violence trainings. You ...
04/19/2021

Finding Jenn's Voice is the intimate partner violence documentary that OVA uses in our domestic violence trainings. You are invited to a *free screening* of this film.

See registration info below.

Finding your voice may save your life!
Come join us for an Open Screening of :
“Finding Jenn’s Voice”
A documentary on intimate partner violence which marks the 10th anniversary of Jennifer Snyder’s murder
20th April - 6 p.m EDT

Click here to register for free!
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IQOM8LW8TgGJdoMPo_8Ldw

Led by Tracy Schott & Presented by Voices4change.net

#RaiseYourVoice

OVA will be standing with survivors of sexual abuse on Monday at the Capitol. You're invited to join allies, survivors a...
04/16/2021

OVA will be standing with survivors of sexual abuse on Monday at the Capitol. You're invited to join allies, survivors and advocates to call on the PA Senate to open a statutory "look back window."

For decades, PA’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse blocked survivors from holding their abusers and the institutions that enabled them accountable. Even as PA changed these laws for claims moving forward, thousands are still unable to go to court unless a “look back window” is put in place.

Learn more at https://childusa.org/law/pennsylvania/.

OVA will be standing with survivors of sexual abuse on Monday at the Capitol. You're invited to join allies, survivors and advocates to call on the PA Senate to open a statutory "look back window."

For decades, PA’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse blocked survivors from holding their abusers and the institutions that enabled them accountable. Even as PA changed these laws for claims moving forward, thousands are still unable to go to court unless a “look back window” is put in place.

Learn more at https://childusa.org/law/pennsylvania/.

The digital world is not separate from in-person spaces. They both make up the world we share, and the impact of our act...
04/15/2021

The digital world is not separate from in-person spaces. They both make up the world we share, and the impact of our actions can carry the same weight.

Sexist jokes, victim blaming language or minimizing comments may not seem like a big deal, but they contribute to the same thinking that fuels violence. The public visibility of this behavior normalizes not taking sexual abuse seriously. In other cases, they may cause harm by re-traumatizing victims of abuse who read them.

Here’s what you can do:

- Support victims by sending a private message to check on them. A simple show of support is validating and can have a lasting impact.

- Publicly ally victims by calling out inappropriate behavior online. The best way to respond to victim blaming is to redirect accountability where it belongs – on the perpetrator. You may not change the perspective of the person who made the comment, but others reading will see the support.

- Report comments that are violent or inappropriate to the platform or the group moderator.

- Refer those who need support to PA local resources: https://pcar.org/help-pa/find-services.

The digital world is not separate from in-person spaces. They both make up the world we share, and the impact of our actions can carry the same weight.

Sexist jokes, victim blaming language or minimizing comments may not seem like a big deal, but they contribute to the same thinking that fuels violence. The public visibility of this behavior normalizes not taking sexual abuse seriously. In other cases, they may cause harm by re-traumatizing victims of abuse who read them.

Here’s what you can do:

- Support victims by sending a private message to check on them. A simple show of support is validating and can have a lasting impact.

- Publicly ally victims by calling out inappropriate behavior online. The best way to respond to victim blaming is to redirect accountability where it belongs – on the perpetrator. You may not change the perspective of the person who made the comment, but others reading will see the support.

- Report comments that are violent or inappropriate to the platform or the group moderator.

- Refer those who need support to PA local resources: https://pcar.org/help-pa/find-services.

Today, the OVA team wears blue, in solidarity with our fellow victim service providers, to raise awareness of child abus...
04/14/2021

Today, the OVA team wears blue, in solidarity with our fellow victim service providers, to raise awareness of child abuse and build a brighter tomorrow for PA children through education and advocacy.

Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of communities working together to help families thrive and prevent child maltreatment. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness about child and family well-being, and work together to implement effective strategies that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

With over 50,000 registered survivors of all types of crime, OVA continues to fight the health crisis of child abuse and administer the rights of survivors to provide testimony, receive notifications, and engage in restorative justice programs if they choose.

#ChildAbusePreventionMonth #ThrivingFamilies

We can stop sexual harassment and abuse before it happens by addressing the driving forces behind the behavior, such as ...
04/12/2021

We can stop sexual harassment and abuse before it happens by addressing the driving forces behind the behavior, such as the attitudes, norms and social systems that support the unequal treatment of certain groups over others.

You can do this by

- Listening to the perspectives of others who are different from you.

- Respecting boundaries and seeking consent.

- Allying survivors by calling out inappropriate jokes and victim blaming comments.

- Recognizing that sexual abuse happens across all communities and survivors are in all the spaces you are, so your language is important.

#SAAM #believesurvivors #consentmatters

We can stop sexual harassment and abuse before it happens by addressing the driving forces behind the behavior, such as the attitudes, norms and social systems that support the unequal treatment of certain groups over others.

You can do this by

- Listening to the perspectives of others who are different from you.

- Respecting boundaries and seeking consent.

- Allying survivors by calling out inappropriate jokes and victim blaming comments.

- Recognizing that sexual abuse happens across all communities and survivors are in all the spaces you are, so your language is important.

#SAAM #believesurvivors #consentmatters

Each year, over 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the US. 28.3% of adults report being physically abused as a...
04/08/2021

Each year, over 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the US.

28.3% of adults report being physically abused as a child. Physical abuse signs may not always be apparent if marks are hidden by clothing, sexual in nature, or described as accidental.

10.6% of adults report being emotionally abused as a child. Emotional abuse occurs when a caregiver harms a child’s mental or social development, or causes severe emotional harm. This type of abuse most often occurs as a pattern of behavior, rather than a single incident.

If you suspect child abuse, the best course of action is to report it immediately. Contact local law enforcement or call PA Child Line at 1-800-932-0313.

Learn more at keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

#ChildAbusePreventionMonth #ThrivingFamilies

Each year, over 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the US.

28.3% of adults report being physically abused as a child. Physical abuse signs may not always be apparent if marks are hidden by clothing, sexual in nature, or described as accidental.

10.6% of adults report being emotionally abused as a child. Emotional abuse occurs when a caregiver harms a child’s mental or social development, or causes severe emotional harm. This type of abuse most often occurs as a pattern of behavior, rather than a single incident.

If you suspect child abuse, the best course of action is to report it immediately. Contact local law enforcement or call PA Child Line at 1-800-932-0313.

Learn more at keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

#ChildAbusePreventionMonth #ThrivingFamilies

Child abuse is when a caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, or emotional harm to a ...
04/07/2021

Child abuse is when a caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, or emotional harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.

This April – for Child Abuse Awareness Month – learn the signs at keepkidssafe.pa.gov and remember to call PA ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313 to report abuse.

#ChildAbusePreventionMonth #ThrivingFamilies

Child abuse is when a caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, or emotional harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.

This April – for Child Abuse Awareness Month – learn the signs at keepkidssafe.pa.gov and remember to call PA ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313 to report abuse.

#ChildAbusePreventionMonth #ThrivingFamilies

At OVA, we are dedicated to supporting crime victims every day, but in April, we talk about Sexual Assault Awareness. Ev...
04/06/2021

At OVA, we are dedicated to supporting crime victims every day, but in April, we talk about Sexual Assault Awareness. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

Today, we wear teal. Today, we stand with victims and fellow advocates. Today, we recognize that sexual violence occurs across the gender spectrum and impacts marginalized communities at higher rates. Today, we resolve to believe survivors.

#SAAM #consentmatters #believesurvivors #wearteal

You are invited to the National Crime Victims’ Rights Rally 2021VIRTUAL EVENT held by the Crime Victims Alliance of PA.A...
04/05/2021

You are invited to the National Crime Victims’ Rights Rally 2021
VIRTUAL EVENT held by the Crime Victims Alliance of PA.

APRIL 19 at 11:00am
https://www.facebook.com/CrimeVicPA

Join each weekday April 19-23 at 11:00am to hear survivors' stories and learn about victim service agencies.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Rally 2021
SAVE THE DATE-VIRTUAL EVENT
Join the Crime Victims Alliance of PA in honor of Crime Victims’ Rights Week
APRIL 19 at 11:00AM
https://www.facebook.com/CrimeVicPA
Join us each day at 11:00am to hear survivor’s stories and learn about victim service agencies throughout the week.
* In lieu of exhibit tables, CVAP would like to highlight the great work that is being done across PA. if you would like your agency featured please contact [email protected] with your agency name and contact.

Address

1101 S Front St, Ste 5200
Harrisburg, PA
17104

General information

The Office of the Victim Advocate can register any crime victim in a case where the sentencing court has ordered jurisdiction of the offender to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and/or the Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole. This includes: Sentenced offenders who are housed in Pennsylvania state correctional institutions (SCIs) Sentenced offenders who received a state sentence (24 months) and by judicial order are serving their sentence in a Pennsylvania county correctional facility Sentenced offenders who received a county sentence (less than 24 months) and by judicial order are serving their sentence in a Pennsylvania state correctional institution Sentenced offenders who are under the supervision of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation & Parole Who is Eligible to be Registered? Adult victims (18 years of age or older) Parents/legal guardians of minor victims (until the minor reaches 18 years of age) Parents/legal guardians with power of attorney for incapacitated adult victims Family members of homicide victims Why Should Victims Register? To receive notification of their right under Pennsylvania to provide input regarding any pre-release and parole review of the offender. To receive automated notification via PA SAVIN of transfers, release escape and other types of custody changes. To receive notification of ex*****on warrants and stays. To receive notification from the Board of Pardons. How Can Victims Register? Call 1-800-322-4472 during regular business hours and someone will be available to assist you. What happens after I register? You will receive a letter from OVA confirming your registration and advising what types of notifications you can expect to receive and when appropriate, information on the current status of the offender. Your 4-digit PA SAVIN PIN will also be provided. You will also receive information about additional services available to you as a victim of crime.

Opening Hours

Monday 08:30 - 16:30
Tuesday 08:30 - 16:30
Wednesday 08:30 - 16:30
Thursday 08:30 - 16:30
Friday 08:30 - 16:30

Telephone

(800) 563-6399

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Our Story

The Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) was created by Act 8, 1995 during Governor Tom Ridge's Special Session on Crime and the office is dedicated to representing, protecting and advancing the individual and collective rights and interests of crime victims. The Victim Advocate is nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate to serve a term of six years. The Victim Advocate has the authority and the duty to represent the rights and interest of crime victims before the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) and the PA Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP). One of OVA’s goals is to provide crime victims with a victim-centered continuum of service throughout the post sentencing process. Our efforts are primarily directed toward ensuring that crime victims registered with OVA are afforded their post sentencing rights to notification and input when offenders under the jurisdiction of the DOC or PBPP are being considered for release back to the community. Another of OVA’s goals is to advocate for the effective use of victim comments into the decision making process for release and for the inclusion of victim issues into the release plans of inmates. Crime victims often have questions about the types of releases for which an offender may be eligible. Or they may want to know what types of information is used by DOC and PBPP to make decisions about releasing offenders. OVA can help provide this type of information. We can also provide referrals to local and statewide agencies and organizations that may be able to provide support and assistance. OVA staff are available to provide information and assistance when victims and their family and friends prepare statements to be considered whenever DOC and PBPP are considering an inmate for different types of releases. OVA is also committed to improving and expanding the response of the criminal justice system to the needs and concerns of crime victims so that the inclusion of crime victims moves from being an obligation to being viewed as an opportunity for justice and healing. OVA offers special programs such as: *Address Confidentiality Program: Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and persons who live in the same household as the victim may apply to participate in ACP. ACP will determine if an applicant meets the requirements for participation. Applicants should have moved or be moving to a new address that is unknown to the perpetrator. *Victim Offender Dialogue is a way of bringing a victim and offender together for a face-to-face meeting, in the presence of a trained unbiased mediator, between the victim of a crime and the person who committed that crime. The practice is also known as victim offender mediation, victim-offender reconciliation, or restorative justice dialogue.

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