Being a victim of crime can be very hard and confusing. People may tell you things that you do not understand. You might not be able to remember things. This is all normal. The legal system can be very hard to understand. There are people to help you! They are called "victim advocates." They will help you for free, make things easier to understand, and will answer your questions. They can help you in many other ways as well. Call them using the phone numbers listed here to find out what they can do for you.
You may have heard that the person who committed the crime against you has "rights" under the law. You also have rights or things that must happen. Some of these rights include:
- Be told about help you can get
- Be told about court hearings and have someone be with you at them if you want;
- Be told if the person who committed the crime against you has been arrested;
- Be told if the person who committed the crime escapes;
- Tell how the crime has hurt you before the judge decides what happens to the person who committed the crime;
- Have anything taken from you returned when it is not needed anymore for court;
- Be told what happens at the end of your case;
- Be paid back by the person who has committed the crime for money lost
There are many more "rights" that you have. Please contact an officer by stopping by our office or calling 717-749-6070 for a full packet regarding rights of victims of crime in PA.
Victims Compensation Assistance Program
This program may be able to help by paying you back for money you had to pay or lost because of a crime. Compensation may be paid to you or others for medical expenses, counseling, lost work earnings, loss of support, funeral expense, travel costs, childcare, stolen cash, relocation, the cost to cleanup a crime-scene and other expenses.
This program will not reimburse you for:
- pain and suffering
- stolen or damaged property (except some medical things)
To receive compensation, you have to:
- Be a victim of a crime that happened in Pennsylvania.
- Report the crime or file a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) within three days.
- Cooperate with the police, courts and the Victims Compensation Assistance Program.
- File the claim within two years of the crime.
- Not be involved in illegal activity that caused the crime to happen.
- Lose at least $100 because of the crime (if you are less then 60 years old)
There are exceptions to the above requirements (especially if the victim is younger than 18 years old).
To get information about your case, you must give your address and telephone number to the appropriate agency (see link above) that will assist you with your rights.