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MOST RECENT NEWS Releases & STATEMENTS:

03 31 2017 -OVA National Crime Victim Rights Week - rls.docx03 31 2017 -OVA National Crime Victim Rights Week - rls.docx

 OVA PSA


STATEMENT FROM OVA REGARDING ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ALTOONA-JOHNSTOWN SEXUAL ABUSE CASES

 
The Office of Victim Advocate is disgusted and saddened to see yet another cover-up of sexual violence that spans decades with hundreds of victims. We applaud the Attorney General's office for the good work of uncovering the painful and horrific facts in this case that harkens back to the 1950’s-victims who otherwise would have no legal path to justice due to arbitrary and time-constrained statute of limitations in the state of Pennsylvania. The OVA strongly supports the outright elimination of any statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases. Victims must be supported and given all legal remedies that the courts can offer so that they may heal and find justice against the perpetrators who have harmed them.  
 
What is further troubling in this case is that the “victim advocate” assigned to these cases was in fact solely advocating on behalf of the church. This is a gross manipulation in what victim advocates are in place to do and highlights the need for truly independent victim advocates whose only interests are for the safety and well being of the crime victims.
 
To fully understand how confusing our existing Statute of Limitations are, PCAR has created this great infograph

 

JUVENILE LIFER ISSUES:

The Supreme Court just ruled that Miller vs Alabama is retroactive. This means that the 514  juvenile offenders convicted of murder and currently serving life sentences in PA could now be eligible and considered for parole and potential release from incarceration. OVA has been continuously updating our affected victims, who include families and loved ones of those murdered in PA. We are currently working hard to inform and empower our victims about today's ruling and will ensure their voices are heard during any possible parole considerations that may result from today's decision.
 
TO DATE: 75 offenders have been resentenced to a parole eligible sentence, of those 75 43 have already been reviewed and granted parole by the Parole Board, 2 cases have been denied parole and 27 cases are still pending review and decisions.
 
 
 

The Office of Victim Advocate 2015/2016 Legislative Session Priorities

OVA Legislative Briefing for March 2017 Email to the Field.docxOVA Legislative Briefing for March 2017 Email to the Field.docx

 

Restitution in Pennsylvania: Continuing to support the House and Senate Bills that have been introduced and will be reintroduced as a result of our outreach and seek any other appropriate remedies within law.

 

HB 280 (Delozier) Amends Title 42 to provide for the deduction of restitution, fees, fines and costs from bail monies that would be otherwise returnable to a defendant. 

 

HB 236 (Corbin) Amends Title 42 to authorize wage attachment for the payment of restitution, fines, and costs.  This bill maintains first priority status for support payments and grants second priority to restitution.  Current law governing the attachment of wages gives priority status only to support obligations. 

 

HB 234 (D. Costa) Amends Title 42 to require that each county establish an internal unit dedicated to the collection of restitution, fines, fees, and other court-imposed obligations.  Counties that outsource collections are not subject to the requirement.  The bill also enhances an existing data-collection mandate. 

 

HB 285 (Stephens) provides for mandatory deductions from inmates’ wages and deposits made to inmates’ personal accounts for the fulfillment of restitution, costs, fees, and other court-ordered obligations.  Current law authorizes, but does not require such deductions. 

 

SB 126 (Boscola) Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in sentencing, providing for lottery winnings intercept.

 

SB 127 (Boscola) Amends Title 42 (Judiciary), in sentencing, providing for State income tax intercept. 

 

SB 346 (Boscola) Amends Title 42 to require funds to be deducted from inmate accounts in order to satisfy outstanding required restitution payments.

 

DOC/PBPP/OVA Merger

SB 522 Amends Titles 42 (Judiciary) & 61 (Prisons & Parole), in judicial boards & commissions, further providing for defs., for guidelines; for court files & records; for correctional institutions; for Interstate Compacts; transfer of power.

 

SB 523 Amends the Crime Victims Act, in preliminary provisions, further providing for defs.; in crime victims, further providing for responsibilities of department, local correctional facilities & board; for office; & for supervision programs.

 

  

Justice Reinvestment Initative 2 –front end diversion, focusing on validating offender management programs for effectiveness and potential evidence based practices, changing compensation laws and other areas of the CVA.

 

Victims’ Rights in Court

Amends the Crime Victims Act further providing for victims' rights by adding that victims have the right to not be excluded from any criminal or juvenile proceeding in accordance with 42 Pa.C.S. 6336 (relating to conduct of hearings), unless the court, based on the record before it, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at the proceeding. Before making a determination, the court shall make every effort to permit the fullest attendance possible by the victim and shall consider reasonable alternatives to the exclusion of the victim. The reason for any exclusion shall be clearly stated on the record.

 

 

PFA Laws 

SB 501 Senator Killion-Provides for safety for all parties involved in Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence that require relinquishment of firearms.

 

SB 502 Senator McGarrible -allow for tolling of PFA while offender is incarcerated.

 

SB 449 Senator Bartolla-  allows magesterial district justices to use risk assessments when determining public saftey and threat to the victim during bail consideration for domestic violence cases.

 

SB 500 Senator Vulakovich - ensuring safe service of PFA orders to avoid victims serving their own orders and thus putting themsevles at risk.

 

Statute of Limitations/Sexual Assault

The OVA fully supports the abolishment of the statute of limitations criminally and civilly moving forward and is requesting consideration of a one-time two year window for previously time-barred and justice denied victims to bring forth claims. We believe it to truly be the best and most equitable way to ensure every single victim of childhood sexual abuse receives a path towards justice.

Understanding that many perpetrators of sexual abuse are not one-time offenders, allowing previously time-barred and justice denied victims the ability to bring forth claims can and will prevent further victimization and harm.

Timely Victim Notification of Post-Conviction Appeals. 

 

Institutional Sexual Assault Expansion § 3124.2 Need language that basically says anyone acting on behalf of the Courts with power, control and care over an offender under supervision commits a felony of the third degree.

 

Clean Slate

Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), in criminal history record in-formation, further providing for general regulations and for order for limited access, providing for clean slate for convictions of certain offenses, nonconvictions and records of juvenile delinquency and for effects of ex-punged offenses and offenses provided limited access and further providing for use of records by licensing agencies. The bill provides for clean slate for convictions of certain offenses, nonconvictions and records of juvenile delinquency. 

 

Safe Harbor

 

Indecent Exposure sentencing enhancement.

 

Need amendment to Title 42 Pa. C.S. 9714 (g) defining “crime of violence” to include murder 1 and 2

 
Victims’ Rights in Court
HB 186 Amends the Crime Victims Act further providing for victims' rights.
SB 377 Amends the Crime Victims Act, in crime victims, further providing for victims' rights.
 
Child Protective Laws

HB1276 Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), in child protective services, further providing for definitions, for persons required to report suspected child abuse, for access to information in Statewide database, for release of information in confidential reports, for employees having contact with children and adoptive and foster parents, for volunteers having contact with children, for continued employment or participation in program, activity or service, for certification compliance and for mandatory reporting of children under one year of age.
 
Victim Advocate Speech Victim Advocate Speech  Press Conference on awarding NCAA Endowment Act Funds
 
Increasing Penalty Assessments on Certain Offenders to Support Victim Services/Compensation
 
Addressing “Max-Outs” and Public Safety
 
Timely Victim Notification of Post-Conviction Appeals
 
Enabling Victims to Apply for Victims Compensation Assistance beyond the Current Statute of Limitations
 
Statute of Limitations Reform for Child Victims of Sexual Abuse

Death Penalty/Moratorium
• Moratorium
• Victim Witnesses to the Execution in Capital Cases 
• Victims’ Right to Address the Court/Jury in the Sentencing Phase of a Capital Case
 
To view bills and actions please go here  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm

Office of Victim Advocate Press Releases

Victim Advocate statement on Criminal Charges Filed Against Bill Cosby

Office of Victim Advocate Reaches Over 2,600 Victims Since May 2015