Office of Victim Advocate

Office of Victim Advocate The PA Office of Victim Advocate (OVA) is the state agency with the authority and duty to advocate for the rights and needs of crime victims.

*Posts, comments and images on our page may contain material that may be triggering or upsetting.
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We accomplish our mission through victim services, which includes notifications of offender status; restorative justice programs that promote resilience and healing; and we are currently developing new initiatives around crime prevention. Learn more at www.ova.pa.gov.

Operating as usual

This Thursday, join Voices 4 Change as they examine Treating Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence.  This is a free ...
07/28/2021

This Thursday, join Voices 4 Change as they examine Treating Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence.

This is a free event with registration. Sign up here:
https://voices4change.net/voice/boston

This Thursday, join Voices 4 Change as they examine Treating Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence.

This is a free event with registration. Sign up here:
https://voices4change.net/voice/boston

**STILL TIME TO REGISTER for this free, virtual event**Restorative justice is a collaborative approach to repairing harm...
07/27/2021

**STILL TIME TO REGISTER for this free, virtual event**

Restorative justice is a collaborative approach to repairing harm caused by crime. Approaches often include facilitated discussions between those who caused harm and the victims and communities who suffered as a result of the harm. The restorative justice process builds resiliency by incorporating principles of empowerment into the resolution process.

This virtual event will examine restorative justice principles and practices and explore community trauma and community healing. We will hear from members of the community who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Restorative justice embraces the cornerstone of justice, which is: all people have inherent value and life itself embodies the possibility of change.

Register to join us Aug 24: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pa-restorative-justice-symposium-2021-tickets-163391312815

**STILL TIME TO REGISTER for this free, virtual event**

Restorative justice is a collaborative approach to repairing harm caused by crime. Approaches often include facilitated discussions between those who caused harm and the victims and communities who suffered as a result of the harm. The restorative justice process builds resiliency by incorporating principles of empowerment into the resolution process.

This virtual event will examine restorative justice principles and practices and explore community trauma and community healing. We will hear from members of the community who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Restorative justice embraces the cornerstone of justice, which is: all people have inherent value and life itself embodies the possibility of change.

Register to join us Aug 24: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pa-restorative-justice-symposium-2021-tickets-163391312815

The PA Chapter of International Association of Forensic Nurses is hosting a 6.5 hour virtual training on November 4. The...
07/22/2021
Current Events | Paiafn

The PA Chapter of International Association of Forensic Nurses is hosting a 6.5 hour virtual training on November 4. The Institute on Strangulation Prevention will be presenting a program titled The Last Warning Shot.

This training will serve to enhance the knowledge and understanding of professionals working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who are strangled, improve policy and practice among the legal, medical, and advocacy communities and maximize capacity and expertise.

Information is available at https://www.paiafn.org/events.

07/22/2021

Domestic violence is more than physical abuse.

Continue to spread this important message within your communities. Education and awareness saves lives every day.

#themoreyouknow #allies

Thank you to all of the survivors and advocates who contacted their US Senators to urge the passing of the VOCA Fix Act!
07/22/2021

Thank you to all of the survivors and advocates who contacted their US Senators to urge the passing of the VOCA Fix Act!

Yesterday, the US Senate unanimously passed HR 1652, better known as the VOCA Fix Act. VOCA funding was at risk of going bankrupt, and this important legislation will sustain and strengthen this critical fund.
VOCA-funded organizations save lives daily and help survivors and their families heal from their trauma; this act will ensure that advocates can continue to provide victims with a full spectrum of care.
PCAR thanks U.S. House and Senate members for their support of the VOCA Fix Act and the countless advocates, survivors, colleagues and friends who urged their representatives to support this vital legislation.

It's been an amazing day here at the PA SORNA Symposium! We've heard from attorneys on the front lines of prosecution of...
07/21/2021

It's been an amazing day here at the PA SORNA Symposium!

We've heard from attorneys on the front lines of prosecution of Butler, Muniz, LaCombe and Torsilieri cases, as well as Detective Randy Zook of the Lancaster City Bureau of Police. And we were honored by survivor speakers who shared their experiences within the criminal justice system and hopes for a more trauma responsive Pennsylvania.

Thank you to our allies and professional colleagues who joined us today to learn more about the Sexual Offender Registration Notification Act.

Excited to be kicking off the PA SORNA Symposium this morning! **Where we are and where we are heading in our quest for ...
07/21/2021

Excited to be kicking off the PA SORNA Symposium this morning!

**Where we are and where we are heading in our quest for safer communities where survivors thrive.**

Following opening remarks by Victim Advocate Suzanne Estrella, SOAB (the Sexual Offender Assessment Board) dives right into DSM5 diagnosis and Sexually Violent Predator designations.

"Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the dedicated and caring individua...
07/20/2021

"Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the dedicated and caring individuals in the community who work tirelessly to make neighborhoods safer and more vibrant places to live and raise families and work to give reentrants a second chance to be productive members of society." - Governor Tom Wolf

Thanks to our allied pretrial, probation and parole professionals for their ongoing efforts to support victims/survivors and keep communities safe!

"Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the dedicated and caring individuals in the community who work tirelessly to make neighborhoods safer and more vibrant places to live and raise families and work to give reentrants a second chance to be productive members of society." - Governor Tom Wolf

Thanks to our allied pretrial, probation and parole professionals for their ongoing efforts to support victims/survivors and keep communities safe!

By sharing their stories and feelings, victims/survivors continue to empower one another and to create healing spaces wh...
07/19/2021
'We got what we needed' - Victim of former Bradford County DA reacts to sentence

By sharing their stories and feelings, victims/survivors continue to empower one another and to create healing spaces where more survivors can come forward. Elevating the voices of victims is also an important aspect of allyship.

“He used our past trauma, our fears, he twisted it because he knew that no one else was going to listen to us,” shared survivor Heather Hoinowski.

Former Bradford County DA Chad Salsman was sentenced to a minimum of 1.5 years in state prison.

https://www.wnep.com/video/news/local/bradford-county/we-got-what-we-needed-victim-of-former-bradford-county-da-reacts-to-sentence/523-b21aa80f-49cd-45c7-bb9a-34a85d4c209e?jwsource=cl

Former Bradford County DA Chad Salsman was sentenced on Friday. Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize spoke with one of the women who helped put him behind bars.

Restorative justice is a collaborative approach to repairing harm caused by crime. Approaches often include facilitated ...
07/19/2021

Restorative justice is a collaborative approach to repairing harm caused by crime. Approaches often include facilitated discussions between those who caused harm and the victims and communities who suffered as a result of the harm. The restorative justice process builds resiliency by incorporating principles of empowerment into the resolution process.

This virtual event will examine restorative justice principles and practices and explore community trauma and community healing. We will hear from members of the community who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Restorative justice embraces the cornerstone of justice, which is: all people have inherent value and life itself embodies the possibility of change.

Register to join us Aug 24: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pa-restorative-justice-symposium-2021-tickets-163391312815.

Restorative justice is a collaborative approach to repairing harm caused by crime. Approaches often include facilitated discussions between those who caused harm and the victims and communities who suffered as a result of the harm. The restorative justice process builds resiliency by incorporating principles of empowerment into the resolution process.

This virtual event will examine restorative justice principles and practices and explore community trauma and community healing. We will hear from members of the community who have been impacted by the criminal justice system. Restorative justice embraces the cornerstone of justice, which is: all people have inherent value and life itself embodies the possibility of change.

Register to join us Aug 24: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pa-restorative-justice-symposium-2021-tickets-163391312815.

Local victim service agencies are urging Pennsylvanians to contact Senator Pat Toomey to urge the passage of VOCA Fix le...
07/14/2021
Your View by nine agencies: Why Congress must act quickly to help crime victims

Local victim service agencies are urging Pennsylvanians to contact Senator Pat Toomey to urge the passage of VOCA Fix legislation.

Your View: We are asking Pennsylvania residents to call Sen. Toomey on July 14 — Victims of Crime Act Rally Day — to tell him to be the champion he has always been for VOCA

We are getting ready to open registration for the PA RESTORATIVE JUSTICE SYMPOSIUM!Mark your calendars to join us virtua...
07/14/2021

We are getting ready to open registration for the PA RESTORATIVE JUSTICE SYMPOSIUM!

Mark your calendars to join us virtually on August 24 and sign up for our e-newsletter for first dibs!

Sign up for OVA's e-newsletter here: https://signup.e2ma.net/signup/1891298/1897818/

We are getting ready to open registration for the PA RESTORATIVE JUSTICE SYMPOSIUM!

Mark your calendars to join us virtually on August 24 and sign up for our e-newsletter for first dibs!

Sign up for OVA's e-newsletter here: https://signup.e2ma.net/signup/1891298/1897818/

OVA was thrilled to spend time on Saturday in Harrisburg learning about the organizations doing community enriching and ...
07/13/2021

OVA was thrilled to spend time on Saturday in Harrisburg learning about the organizations doing community enriching and empowering work. Thanks to All You Can Inc. and The Bridge for hosting a fantastic event!

Catch the OVA team tomorrow night at the North Catasauqua Community Night Out! Did you know that OVA now has regional ad...
07/13/2021

Catch the OVA team tomorrow night at the North Catasauqua Community Night Out!

Did you know that OVA now has regional advocates? All 67 Pennsylvania counties have an assigned team member dedicated to community outreach. If you'd like to connect with the advocate in your area, email [email protected] or call 800-563-6399.

Catch the OVA team tomorrow night at the North Catasauqua Community Night Out!

Did you know that OVA now has regional advocates? All 67 Pennsylvania counties have an assigned team member dedicated to community outreach. If you'd like to connect with the advocate in your area, email [email protected] or call 800-563-6399.

07/10/2021

Thanks to All You Can Inc. and The Bridge for having us out to your community event today!

The PA Community Alliance Summit, a project of the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, will discuss and exp...
07/09/2021
2021 PA Community Alliance Summit - Harrisburg University

The PA Community Alliance Summit, a project of the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, will discuss and explore the theme: Recover, Rebuild, and Reform. What does it look like in your community to “recover?” How can we “rebuild” communities to move forward? What “reform” is needed to improve community systems?

The summit is two days of virtual networking, discovering alliances and collaboration building within diverse organizations in Pennsylvania led by and/or supporting underserved/unserved populations who experience marginalization and oppression.

Catch OVA presenting on day 2 in the afternoon! Register and learn more here: https://www.harrisburgu.edu/events/2021-pa-community-alliance-summit/.

The Summit is two days of networking, discovering alliances and collaboration building within diverse organizations in Pennsylvania led by and/or supporting underserved/unserved populations who experience marginalization and oppression.

Catch OVA at the Legacy of Lions community event by All You Can Inc. this Saturday in Harrisburg!
07/07/2021

Catch OVA at the Legacy of Lions community event by All You Can Inc. this Saturday in Harrisburg!

Catch OVA at the Legacy of Lions community event by All You Can Inc. this Saturday in Harrisburg!

Philadelphia gun violence resources available from Up The Block. If you community is suffering from gun violence, you ar...
07/07/2021
Philly gun violence resources

Philadelphia gun violence resources available from Up The Block. If you community is suffering from gun violence, you are not alone. Check out these resources for assistance.

Up the Block is a free guide to the tools, resources, and people who can help you navigate your Philadelphia community, especially if you or people you know have been affected by gun violence. This project was created and is maintained by [The Trace](https://www.thetrace.org), a nonprofit newsroom d...

OVA has partnered with NAMI Philadelphia to offer a brand new virtual Homicide Grief Support Group where survivors can n...
07/02/2021

OVA has partnered with NAMI Philadelphia to offer a brand new virtual Homicide Grief Support Group where survivors can navigate this journey together.

Sessions will be held Thursday evenings 7:00 – 8:30pm EST beginning Sept 2. To register to attend, please email [email protected]. See additional information in the flyer below.

Sessions are open to all PA homicide survivors who are now over the age of 18.

OVA has partnered with NAMI Philadelphia to offer a brand new virtual Homicide Grief Support Group where survivors can navigate this journey together.

Sessions will be held Thursday evenings 7:00 – 8:30pm EST beginning Sept 2. To register to attend, please email [email protected]. See additional information in the flyer below.

Sessions are open to all PA homicide survivors who are now over the age of 18.

The facts in the Cosby case do not appear to be in dispute. Mr. Cosby spent decades using drugs and alcohol in pursuit o...
07/01/2021

The facts in the Cosby case do not appear to be in dispute. Mr. Cosby spent decades using drugs and alcohol in pursuit of his own sexual gratification resulting in the victimization of numerous young women.

Read the full statement from PA Victim Advocate Suzanne V. Estrella, Esq. below.

Read more about the impact of trauma on victims at https://www.ova.pa.gov/Resources/Trauma/Pages/default.aspx.

Locate county resources at https://www.ova.pa.gov/SafetyandSupport/Resources/LocateaVictimServiceAgency/Pages/default.aspx.

The facts in the Cosby case do not appear to be in dispute. Mr. Cosby spent decades using drugs and alcohol in pursuit of his own sexual gratification resulting in the victimization of numerous young women.

Read the full statement from PA Victim Advocate Suzanne V. Estrella, Esq. below.

Read more about the impact of trauma on victims at https://www.ova.pa.gov/Resources/Trauma/Pages/default.aspx.

Locate county resources at https://www.ova.pa.gov/SafetyandSupport/Resources/LocateaVictimServiceAgency/Pages/default.aspx.

***UPDATE: The symposium is FULL. We look forward to seeing attendees on July 21!***Pennsylvania's free SORNA Symposium ...
06/21/2021

***UPDATE: The symposium is FULL. We look forward to seeing attendees on July 21!***

Pennsylvania's free SORNA Symposium registration is now open!

Come spend the day - in person - learning about the Sexual Offender Registration Notification Act with subject matter experts and survivors.

If you work in a field related to law enforcement, judiciary services, probation/parole, victim services - this conference is for you. Survivors welcome. Crisis support services on site.

Space is limited. Social distancing observed. Please register early at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sorna-symposium-tickets-159897157703.

***UPDATE: The symposium is FULL. We look forward to seeing attendees on July 21!***

Pennsylvania's free SORNA Symposium registration is now open!

Come spend the day - in person - learning about the Sexual Offender Registration Notification Act with subject matter experts and survivors.

If you work in a field related to law enforcement, judiciary services, probation/parole, victim services - this conference is for you. Survivors welcome. Crisis support services on site.

Space is limited. Social distancing observed. Please register early at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sorna-symposium-tickets-159897157703.

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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