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Victim/Witness Office

Your Rights as a Victim of Crime

  • To receive basic information concerning the services available for victims of crime.

  • UPON REQUEST, to be notified of certain significant actions and proceedings within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, including: a) Access to info regarding whether the offender was detained or released following arrest. b) Immediate notification of offenders escape and the apprehension c) Access to information regarding the grant or denial of bail

  • UPON REQUEST, to be accompanied to any court proceedings.

  • In cases of personal injury or burglary, to have input on the potential reduction or dropping of any charge or changing of a plea.

  • To have opportunity to offer prior comment on sentencing/disposition and include the submission of a written and oral victim impact statement detailing the effects of the crime on the victim and victims family.

  • To receive restitution, compensation, and return of property seized as evidence when no longer needed.

  • UPON REQUEST, to have input and notification of release, parole, and escape of an offender sentenced to state prison or a mental health facility.

  • To have assistance in filing a financial claim with victims compensation.

  • To file a grievance if you feel your rights have not been met.

Domestic Violence Victims

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you have the right to file a petition requesting a Protection from Abuse order (PFA). -To be eligible for a PFA, you must be related to the person you are filing on, live with the person, or have had an intimate relationship with the person. -The person you are filing on must have harmed you or threatened to harm you

The PFA order can include:

  • restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse.
  • directing the abuser to leave your household
  • preventing the abuser from entering your residence, school, business or place of employment.

Financial Assistance For Crime Victims

The Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) helps victims and their families ease the financial burdens they may face as a result of a crime. Although compensation will not erase the fact that the crime has occurred, it can help victims to begin the healing and recovery process. There may be factors other than those listed below that may determine whether a crime victim may qualify for compensation.

Who Is Eligible?

  • The crime occurred in Pennsylvania OR
  • the crime occurred to a Pennsylvania resident who was injured or killed
    • in a foreign country or
    • by an act of international terrorism
  • A police officer, firefighter, or individual whose employment included the duty of protecting the public, may be eligible for victims compensation for injuries suffered from either on or off-duty crime incidents.
  • The crime was reported to the proper authorities within three days OR a Protection From Abuse Order was filed within three days unless good cause is shown, or the victim is a minor.
  • The victim has cooperated with law enforcement, the courts, and the Victims Compensation Assistance Program.

The claim must be filed no later than two years after discovery of the occurrence of the crime upon which the claim is based or not later than two years after the death of the victim or intervenor as a result of the crime or the discovery and identification of the body of a murder victim.

Which Types of Expenses May be Covered?

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses may include physical therapy, medications, ambulance, home health care, replacement services, child care medical equipment/supplies, or transportation costs to medical and counseling appointments or pharmacy visits.

Counseling Expenses

Individuals eligible for counseling include: the victim; specific relatives of the victim; person residing with the victim; person engaged to the victim; person maintaining a common-law relationship with the victim; person who is physically present and who witnesses a violent crime; person who discovers a homicide victim; person responsible for the victim’s welfare.

Loss of Earnings

A victim/claimant who is unable to work due to a physical or emotional disability related to a crime may be eligible for compensation. The following individuals may also be eligible for loss of earnings: certain family members who provide home health care or replacement services, or persons who meet specific criteria related to homicide victims.

Loss of Support

Payments may be made for financial dependents of a homicide victim.

Stolen Benefit Cash

If Social Security, pension/retirement, disability or court-ordered child/spousal support is the victim’s main source of income, and cash has been stolen or taken through fraud, he/she may be compensated, within certain limits.

Relocation Expenses

Temporary or permanent relocation expenses may be covered for the victim and individuals residing in their household when it is required for the immediate protection of their safety and/or health. A medical provider, law enforcement, or human service provider must verify the victim’s need to relocate.

Funeral Expenses

If the claimant paid or assumes responsibility to pay for the funeral bill for a deceased victim, he/she may be compensated for those expenses, within certain limits.

Crime-Scene Cleanup

If the victim/claimant paid for the costs of cleaning the crime scene of a personal living space, compensation may be awarded. Crime-scene cleanup includes the removal of stains or blood caused by the crime or other dirt or debris caused by processing the crime-scene.

Victim Compensation Claim Form

Contact Information

Victim/Witness Office

County Courthouse
31 Lake Avenue (PO Box 218)
Montrose, PA 18801

Telephone: (570) 278-6657
Fax: (570) 278-9039

Kaelin Shiptoski, Coordinator

Contact Us

Additional Resources

Women’s Resource Center
(570) 278-1800 or (800) 257-5765

Susquehanna County Correctional Facility
(570) 278-7166

PA State Police
(570) 465-3154 or 911

Tri-County Human Services
(570) 278-3393

Office of the Victim Advocate
Board of Probation and Parole
1101 South Front St
Suite 5200
Harrisburg, PA 17104
(800) 563-6399

Children & Youth Services
(570) 278-4600 ext. 5920 or Hotline (800) 932-0313

Area Office of Aging
(570) 278-3751 or Hotline (800) 982-4346

Office of the Victim Advocate
Department of Corrections
PO Box 598
Camp Hill, PA 17001
(800) 322-4472
TDD (877) 349-1064

Additional Links of Interest