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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: November 6, 2015 12:39 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Crime Victim Representation on the Victims’ Services Advisory Committee within PCCD
I am introducing legislation amending the Crime Victims Act in an effort to provide broader representation of crime victims on the Victims’ Services Advisory Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).

This committee provides perspectives on behalf of all crime victims/survivors in the development of the Commission’s policies, funding priorities, legislation and outcomes. Specifically, the Victims’ Services Advisory Committee advises the Commission in the direct approval and disbursement of financial assistance and reviews and comments on applications from crime victim assistance organizations seeking funding through PCCD.

The Victims’ Services Advisory Committee helps PCCD determine the funding priorities and grant awards made through various funding streams, including those received under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). This year, PCCD will get a significant $77 million in VOCA funding to support direct services, such as emergency shelter, crisis intervention, counseling and assistance in participating in the criminal justice system. These increased dollars Pennsylvania will receive are a great opportunity for PCCD to reach underserved crime victim populations in addition to continuing substantial support to current victim service providers. I believe we need to ensure the committee best reflects the needs of the unfortunate demographics of crime victims we have in Pennsylvania.

In addition to enabling two residents of the Commonwealth to be appointed by the chairman of PCCD to the committee, my legislation increases the members appointed by the Governor to it from nine to 16 and specifies the following representation among those members:
  • A direct victim of crime who shall represent female victims.
  • A direct victim of crime who shall represent male victims.
  • An Area Agency on Aging.
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
  • Pennsylvania Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers and Multidisciplinary Teams.
  • Pennsylvania Court Appointed Special Advocates Association.
  • A county Children and Youth Agency.
  • Prosecution-based victim/witness programs.
  • Victim service or advocacy organization.
  • The courts.
  • County government.
  • A children’s advocacy center or victim services agency working directly with children.
  • Local law enforcement.
  • Mental health treatment provider.
  • Victim services agency working directly with victims of human trafficking.
Several of these crime victims, organizations, and entities are already represented on the committee and/or required under current statute. All current representation on the committee is preserved under my legislation.

Introduced as SB1113