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Victim Rights and Services
Victims Bill of Rights
As a victim of crime you have the following rights:
• To be provided with basic information on available services;
• To be told about certain significant actions within the justice system pertaining to your case, including bail decisions of an adult offender, detention or release of a juvenile, the filing of a petition alleging delinquency, and the escape and subsequent apprehension of an adult prior to trial or a juvenile prior to adjudication;
• To be accompanied to all proceedings by a family member, a victim advocate or other support person;
• To give prior comment on the sentencing decision regarding an adult offender or the disposition of a delinquent child;
• To receive help in preparing a victim impact statement detailing the physical, psychological and economic effects of the crime to be considered by the courts;
• To receive restitution and assistance with preparing and submitting a claim for compensation;
• To be notified of an adult offender’s transfer from a state prison to a mental health facility and the discharge, transfer or escape of the adult offender from that facility;
• To receive immediate notice of the release of an adult offender on bail who is incarcerated in a local prison for a violation of a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, or for a personal injury crime committed against the victim protected by the PFA;
• To have property returned that was seized as evidence, but is no longer needed for prosecution;
• To have notice and to provide prior comment on a judicial recommendation that the defendant participate in a motivational boot camp;
• To have notice and provide comment on resentencing decisions;
• To have notice and provide prior comment on prosecutor’s waiver of eligibility requirement of an offender to enter the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive Program;
• To be notified and provide comment if the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections requests that the court reconsider an inmate’s sentence, and re-sentence that inmate to the State Intermediate Punishment Program;
• To be present at trials and the execution of an offender; and
• To receive notice of the arrest of a defendant for violating a PFA order.
PA SAVIN and Victim Services
PA SAVIN is Pennsylvania’s automated victim notification system and part of PA’s commitment to support victims of crime. This service provides crime victims, their families and their circles of support with free, confidential notification regarding an offender’s release, transfer, or escape. The PA SAVIN service includes offenders under the supervision of county jails, state prisons and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. PA SAVIN: 1-866-972-7284 or 1-866-9PA-SAVIN TTY Services for the Hearing Impaired: 1-866-847-1298, http://www.pacrimevictims.state.pa.us/
You can also register to be notified by phone and e-mail if the custody status of an offender changes. If registering a phone number, you will be asked to create a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) that will be used to confirm that the call was received by the person registered. Make sure your PIN is easy to remember.
You will be notified if the offender:
- is released
- is transferred to another location
IMPORTANT: Do not rely solely on PA SAVIN for your safety. If you feel you are at risk, take precautions and contact your local victim services program and your local police department.
If an offender is or will be supervised by Montgomery County Adult Probation, the victim may provide input into the sex offender’s supervision. For more information, victims should contact the Supervisor of the Sex Offender Unit at 610-992-7777.
Victim Services Center of Montgomery County (VSC) is a nonprofit that provides free help for victims of crime and their loved ones as well as education to the public. VSC services include advocacy (supporting survivors during police interviews, court hearings, hospital exams, and help with victim compensation), counseling (individual and group counseling for people ages 5+ and a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of crime), and education to teach strategies that can help prevent sexual violence and other types of crime. Speak with a counselor anytime by calling 888.521.0983 or visit VSC’s website to request a callback. All services are provided at no cost. Interpreter service is available in over 240+ languages.
Victim Witness Unit (VWU) of the District Attorney’s Office is responsible for assisting victims and witnesses who are participating in a criminal case. They provide information regarding victim rights, restitution, parole notification, victim impact statements and related issues.