History and Mission
The Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate (OVA) is dedicated to representing, protecting and advancing the individual and collective rights and interests of crime victims.
The Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate (OVA) was created by Act 8, of 1995 during Governor Tom Ridge's Special Session on Crime. The Victim Advocate is nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate to serve a term of six years. The Victim Advocate has the authority and the duty to represent the rights and interests of all Commonwealth crime victims in general including victims of juvenile offenders, and all those that come before the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP).
One of OVA’s goals is to provide crime victims with a victim-centered continuum of service throughout the post-sentencing process. Our efforts are primarily directed toward ensuring that crime victims registered with OVA are afforded their post-sentencing rights to notification and input when offenders under the jurisdiction of the DOC or PBPP are being considered for release back into the community. Another one of OVA’s goals is to advocate for the effective use of victim comments into the decision making process for release and for the inclusion of victim issues into the release plans of inmates.
OVA is also committed to improving and expanding the response of the criminal and juvenile justice system to the needs and concerns of crime victims so that the inclusion of crime victims moves from being an obligation to being viewed as an opportunity for justice and healing.
Working in collaboration with statewide victim service providers, state agencies and other stakeholders, the Victim Advocate participates in discussions regarding legislation, policy and practice via appointment to state-level committees and commissions such as:
PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD)
Victim Services Advisory Committee (VSAC) of PCCD
PA State Council for the Interstate Compact for the Supervision of Adult Offenders
PA State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision
PA Commission on Sentencing (ex officio member)
Criminal Justice Advisory Committee
Mental Health Advisory Committee