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Pennsylvania Crime Victim's Bill of Rights

As a victim of crime in Pennsylvania you have the following rights:

  • To receive basic information concerning the services to assist you;
  • To be notified of certain significant actions and proceedings pertaining to your case, including, in personal injury crimes, the arrest of the suspect and escape from police custody;
  • To be accompanied at all public criminal proceedings by a family member, a victim advocate or another person;
  • In cases of personal injury crimes, burglary, or driving under the influence involving bodily injury, to submit prior comment to the prosecutor's office on the potential reduction or dropping of any charge or changing of a plea;
  • To offer prior comment or to submit a written victim impact statement for the judge's consideration at sentencing;
  • To recover your losses, to the extent possible, through restitution, compensation through the victim's compensation program and the return of property which was seized as evidence when it is no longer needed by the prosecutor;
  • In personal injury crimes where the offender is sentenced to a state prison, to provide prior comment on and to receive notice of release decisions, and to be immediately notified if the offender escapes;
  • In personal injury crimes where the offender is sentenced to a local correctional facility, to receive notice of release decisions and to be immediately notified if the offender escapes; \
  • To receive immediate notice of release on bail where the offender is committed to a local correctional facility for violation of a protection from abuse order;
  • To receive notice when an offender is committed to a mental health facility from a state prison and of the discharge, transfer or escape of the offender from the mental health facility; and
  • To have assistance in the preparation of, submission of and follow-up on the financial assistance claims to the Crime Victim's Compensation Board.

VICTIM'S RESPONSIBILITY

In order for a victim to receive information and/or notice on matters concerning a criminal case, the victim must provide a valid address and telephone number to the requesting agency. The victim is also responsible for providing timely notice of any changes in that information. The information the victim provides is confidential and may not be disclosed to any person other than a representative of a law enforcement agency, prosecutor's office or corrections agency without the victim’s written prior consent. The victim's responsibility falls to the parent or legal guardian for child victims and to a surviving family member in the case of homicide.

According to the Pennsylvania Crimes Code 2711, police are permitted to arrest without a warrant when there is "probable cause" that a crime such as an assault occurred, even if the crime was not committed in their presence. The police may also confiscate any weapons that were used.

Police may make an arrest in domestic violence situations if:

  • You state that you have been abused and,
  • There is physical evidence of the abuse, such as bruises, cuts or other injuries and/or broken furniture or locks or,
  • There is another person who states that he/she witnessed the abuse (neighbor, friend, child).

The Federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights

  • Survivors shall be notified of their options to notify law enforcement.
  • Accuser and accused must have the same opportunity to have others present.
  • Both parties shall be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding.
  • Survivors shall be notified of counseling services.
  • Survivors shall be notified of options for changing academic and living situations

AGENCIES THAT CAN ASSIST YOU:

Victim/Witness Assistance
Information on Victim Rights and Services in the Criminal Justice System and Community Agency: Victim/Witness Coordinator (District Attorney's Office)
Telephone Numbers: Business - 215-348-6292

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
For Prevention - Intervention - and Change

Domestic Violence
Legal Advocacy, Counseling, Shelter, and Other Assistance (see section for Domestic Violence Victims).
Agency: A Woman's Place
Telephone Numbers: Hotline 800-220-8116 Business 215-343-9241

Sexual Assault
Counseling, Advocacy and Services for Adult and Child Sexual Assault Victims
Agency: N.O.V.A. (Network of Victim Assistance)
Telephone Numbers: Hotline 800-675-6900 Business 215-348-5664

Drunk Driving
Counseling, Advocacy and Services for Victims of Drunk Driving
Agency: M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)
Telephone Numbers: Business 215-741-1667

Child Abuse
Counseling, Information and Referral Services for Abuse and Neglected Children
Agency: Bucks County Children and Youth
Telephone Numbers: Hotline 800-932-0313 Business 215-348-6950

Elder Abuse
Counseling, Shelter and Protective Services for Victims Age 60 and Over
Agency: Bucks County Area Agency on Aging
Telephone Numbers: Business 215-348-0510

Other Victims of Violence
Counseling, Services and Advocacy for the Surviving Family of Homicide Victims and for Robbery, Aggravated Assault and Burglary Victims
Agency: N.O.V.A. (Network of Victim Assistance)
Telephone Numbers: Hotline 800-675-6900 Business 215-348-5664

Crime Victim's Compensation
Compensation for Out-of-Pocket Medical Bills, Lost Wages/Support Counseling, Funeral Expenses or Cash Loss of Benefits as a Result of a Crime, If Eligible
Agency: PA Crime Victim's Compensation Board
Telephone Numbers: Business 800-233-2339