Because most citizens come in contact with victims, even if they don't know it, one priority of OVA's training programs is to prepare communities to work and communicate effectively with victims and treat them with dignity and respect. Educational workshops are offered across the Commonwealth, including inside state prisons.
OVA is available to travel to your county or provide online training to discuss victims' post-sentencing rights, various OVA services, technical expertise, and more. To schedule a training, please email OVA at RA-OVAinfo@pa.gov or call 800.563.6399.
Check out the Resilient Voices program, which offers a brilliant array of survivor speakers for your events.
Just a few of the OVA trainings are:
STOP Domestic Violence
Through funding from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, OVA provides a full day of training specifically designed for all state/county probation and parole officers, law enforcement officials, victim service providers, district attorney and district justice personnel. Participants learn the skills to recognize domestic violence, the protocols and tools used to combat the epidemic, and how to interface with victims of crime. A portion of this workshop is provided in partnership with the Finding Jenn's Voice film to help further the understanding and prevention of domestic violence lethality among pregnant women.
More information available here.
OVA partners with the PA Department of Corrections to bring various classes to state correctional facilities across the state. Impact of Crime Class (voluntary) and Victim Awareness Class (mandatory) are two of those offerings.
Programs are aimed to raise awareness of the long term effects that crime has on victims/survivors, their families and communities. They are designed to increase the level of accountability and empathy, while often providing a healing platform for survivors to share their experiences.
Additionally, OVA staff and crime survivors take part in Day of Responsibility events on an annual basis. Activities generate dialogue around issues of redemption, restoration, rehabilitation and responsibility to prepare those who are close to release and to plant roots of these concepts for long serving offenders.
Inmates who have participated in trainings have remarked:
"Having victims come into class and reveal their personal stories served to give us inmates a behind the scenes look at the destructive nature our criminal conduct inflicts upon the innocent victims and the aftermath harm crimes cause."
"I have been enrolled in various treatment programs for offenders but no other program had such a profound effect on me."
Historically, OVA has assisted a group of inmates serving life sentences at SCI Phoenix who developed their own peer-to-peer mentoring program, aimed at encouraging accountability and healing.
Inmates have also donated to MADD to pay for autopsy reports, donated to local victim service organizations, and reimbursed survivor speakers for mileage and lodging expenses when traveling to speak to their class.
Want to work at OVA? Learn more here.