Criminal Justice System Navigation
The victim advocate’s main purpose is not only provide support for a victim but to prepare and guide the victim by providing information and assist the victim through the criminal justice process. NOVA’s advocates are experienced at explaining the system in an easy to understand, which enables victims to make informed decisions.
Police Interview Accompaniment
Making a police report after being victimized can be very traumatic. When a victim first reports a crime, the police will make a referral to NOVA with a request to have an advocate present. With the victim’s permission, the Advocate will meet the victim at the police station or hospital to provide support during the initial police interview. A victim may also contact NOVA directly if they would like to have an advocate accompany them to make an initial report of a crime to police. Later, the Advocate may go with the victim to further interviews with the police and others in the justice system.
NOVA victim advocates provide assistance to victims at every stage of the criminal justice process. Our advocates provide accompaniment and assistance to victims for court prep meetings with the District Attorney’s office, Preliminary Hearings, Pre-Trial Hearings, Trials, Guilty Pleas, Sentencings, Appeal Hearings and Juvenile Court Proceedings. NOVA’s advocates also assist in the preparation of victim impact statements, sitting with a victim or their significant others during a hearing, and providing updates following a court event to victims who were not present.
NOVA advocates assist clients with registration with the Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA), a program of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. OVA provides assistance with post-sentencing rights and services for victims of crime. NOVA works closely with OVA to provide accompaniment to victims who provide input in parole hearings, which is done by video at the NOVA office.
Victim Compensation Assistance Program Claim Filing
Pennsylvania’s Victims Compensation Assistance Program is in place to assist with the financial costs a crime victim may experience as a result of the crime. They are the payer of last resort. Covered expenses include:
- Counseling expenses
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of support
- Relocation expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Crime-scene cleanup
- Money stolen or defrauded from individuals on a fixed income, such as Social Security
You may be eligible for Crime Victim’s Compensation if:
- The crime occurred in Pennsylvania
- The crime was reported to law enforcement or a protection from abuse order (PFA) was filed
- The victim has cooperated with law enforcement and courts
- The claim was filed within two years after the crime (there are exceptions for children)
- The victim was not engaged in an illegal activity
NOVA’s Victim Advocates can provide compensation forms, assist in filing a claim and completing required paperwork, answer questions about the program and inform you of any additional services to which you may be entitled.
Victim Offender Notification
Pennsylvania Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) is a free service that notifies victims of a particular offender’s movement through the correctional system. It provides alerts when an offender is moved, out for court, released, or escapes. Once a victim signs up, the system will send alerts through a call, text, and/or email.
NOVA advocates are available to assist victims with registering for PA SAVIN.