Victim Advocacy for Adults and Children
All services provided to victims of crime and their families are completely free of charge and are confidential*, regardless of whether or not the client wishes to report a crime to law enforcement.
*The Crime Victims' Center of Chester County, Inc. (CVC) treats communications with clients as confidential except in circumstances in which CVC receives information that a child has been or may be abused or that a client is planning to inflict self-harm or harm others.
If you have been a victim of a crime, The Crime Victims' Center of Chester County, Inc. (CVC) will provide you with support at the hospital, police interviews, and court proceedings. You are not alone.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, a victim advocate can accompany you to the hospital to support you through the procedure of a sexual assault examination. If you have been a victim of any crime and are receiving medical attention, a victim advocate can provide accompaniment, support, information and referrals.
Reporting a victimization to the police can be intimidating. It sometimes involves making an audio or written record of your explanation of the crime. An advocate can sit with you through the interview.
After an arrest has been made, a court hearing will occur. An advocate can give you information on what to expect during these hearings. The person who committed the crime will appear in front of the judge. As a victim or witness, you may be required to be present for this hearing. If you would like, a victim advocate can accompany you for support. Advocates can accompany you for pretrial meetings and trials as well.
If you are in need of an advocate to accompany you to an interview, hospital, hearing, or other event,
please call one of our 24/7 Hotlines.
The Crime Victims' Center of Chester County, Inc. (CVC) has two 24-Hour Hotlines, Sexual Assaults: (610) 692-7273 and Other Crimes: (610) 692-7420. All of CVC’s services can be accessed through both of these hotlines. If you or someone you know has been a victim of any crime please do not hesitate to call.
SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE - (610) 692-7273
This hotline is used for those who have been a victim of a sexual crime or attempted sexual crime. This can include rape, sexual assault, inappropriate touching, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, incest, trafficking, child pornography, and more. Please call the hotline if you have been a victim of a sexual crime and need assistance, or if you have any questions regarding a sexual crime.
OTHER CRIMES HOTLINE - (610) 692-7420
This hotline is used for those who have been a victim of any non-sexual crime. This may include domestic violence, physical abuse, arson, homicide survivors, robbery, theft, identity theft, assaults, DUI victims, harassment, stalking, labor trafficking, and all other non-sexual crimes. Please call this hotline if you have been a victim of a crime and need support from an advocate, or if you have any immediate questions about a crime that occurred.
OFFICE PHONE NUMBER - (610) 692-1926
During our normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm), you may call our office with questions, concerns, or to get in touch with your advocate. Please call one of the hotlines if you are in need of immediate assistance after business hours.
CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY CENTER (CAC)
Any time a forensic interview is scheduled at the Child Advocacy Center, a victim advocate from CVC will automatically be present to provide support to the child and family, and to offer follow-up services.
The Chester County Child Advocacy Center is a child-focused program in which representatives from many disciplines in Chester County work together to serve the needs of children who have become victims of crime. Law enforcement, child protection, prosecutors, mental health, medical professionals and The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc., work together in conducting joint forensic interviews and making team decisions about the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases in Chester County.
Child abuse is a multifaceted community problem and no single agency, individual or discipline has the necessary knowledge, skills or resources to serve all the needs of a child victim. The combined wisdom and knowledge of professionals of different disciplines will result in a more complete understanding of case issues and provide the most effect child-focused system response.
The Crime Victims' Center of Chester County (CVC) provides guidance to victims in need of protection or compensation.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE PROTECTION ORDER
If you are a victim of sexual assault and the abuser is not a family member or household member, you may be able to go to court and file a No Contact Order against the offender.
PROTECTION FROM INTIMIDATION ORDER
If you are under the age of 18 and you are being harassed or stalked by a person over the age of 18 and they are not a family member or household member, you may be able to go to court and file a No Contact Order against the offender.
Your victim advocate can keep you informed with updates and important dates related to your case. If you wish to receive notification services, you may simply complete the forms mentioned below, or reach out to CVC by phone to request notifications from an advocate.
VICTIM RESPONSE PACKET
After charges are filed in your case, you will receive a Victim Response Packet from the District Attorney's Office (if the offender is an adult) or the Juvenile Probation Office (if the offender is a juvenile). An advocate can assist you in completion of the packet, which includes forms such as:
Victim Impact Statement
Restitution Claim Form
If you have been a victim of a crime, our advocates are committed to ensuring the following rights are afforded to you. If you have any questions about your rights, please call one of our hotlines, Sexual Assaults: (610) 692-7273 or Other Crimes: (610) 692-7420.
Pennsylvania's Victims' Bill of Rights per Act 155 of 1992; Basic Bill of Rights for Victims; Section 479.3
As a victim of crime in Pennsylvania, you have the following rights:
To receive information concerning available services for victims;
To be notified of certain significant actions and proceedings pertaining to your case;
To be accompanied at all public criminal proceeding by a victim advocate, family member or another person;
In cases involving personal injury crimes, burglary, and crimes relating to driving under the influence which involved bodily injury, the victim may offer prior comment on the potential reduction or dropping of any charge or changing of a plea;
To offer prior comment on the sentencing of a defendant to include the submission of a written and/or oral victim impact statement;
To be restored, to the extent possible, to the pre-crime economic status through restitution, compensation, and the return of property;
In personal injury crimes where the offender is sentenced to a state correctional facility, to be given the opportunity to provide prior comment on and to receive state post sentencing release decisions (work release, parole, pardon, or community treatment center placement) and to be provided immediate notice of escape of the offender;
In personal injury crimes where the offender is sentenced to a local correctional facility, to receive notice of release of the offender (including work release, furlough, parole, community treatment center placement) and to be provided with immediate notice of the escape of the offender;
Where the offender is subject to a PFA order and is committed to a local correctional facility for a violation of the order or for a personal injury crime against a victim protected by the order, to receive immediate notice of the release of the offender on bail;
To receive notice when an offender is committed to a mental health facility from a state correctional institution and of the discharge, transfer, or escape of the offender from the mental health facility;
To have assistance in the preparation of, submission of and follow-up on financial assistance claims to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Program.
CVC offers confidential individual and group counseling for victims of crime/violence, their family members and/or significant others. Individual and group counseling is available at our West Chester office, and at other sites throughout Chester County. There is no fee for the counseling services offered by CVC. Counseling is provided by professionals with a Master's Degree or above who specialize in the areas of abuse and victimization. Individual and group counseling is available during the day, in the evenings, and on weekends.
CVC offers individual counseling for victims, their family members and/or significant others. The goal of individual counseling is to provide a safe space in which victims can process their emotions and regain a sense of control in their lives. CVC's counselors strive to assist clients in gaining insight and support to cope with issues related to victimization, and to ultimately find inner healing.
CVC also offers group counseling for victims, their family members and/or significant others. These groups offer a safe environment for clients to share their experiences. The goal of group participation is to assist clients in gaining insight and support to cope with issues related to victimization. Groups encourage participants to regain a sense of control in their lives. CVC offers sexual assault support groups for teens, adults, parents, and those with dual victimization issues. CVC also offers support group for family members affected by homicide. Additional support groups will be offered as needed.
To obtain more information about current groups being offered, or to schedule an intake appointment for individual or group counseling, please call our office during business hours (Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm).
VICTIMS COMPENSATION ASSISTANCE
CVC assists clients in applying for financial compensation through the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP). VCAP, administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), can help victims and their families with reimbursement for some expenses resulting from victimization, when eligible.
In order to be eligible for VCAP:
the crime must be reported to Law Enforcement or have a PFA filed
the crime must have occurred in Pennsylvania
the victim must cooperate with the Courts, Police and VCAP
the victim must be a payer of last resort
the victim must have a minimum loss of $100 if under the age of 60
the claim must be filed within two years of the crime
Types of expenses that may be covered include:
loss of earnings
crime scene clean-up
VCAP does not reimburse for pain and suffering or property damage or loss.
For more detailed information, to request an application, or for assistance in filing a claim with the Victims Compensation Assistance Program, please call CVC at (610) 692-7420 or VCAP at (800) 233-2339.
Restitution is court-ordered reimbursement by the defendant(s) made payable to victims and their families for losses related to a crime. A defendant must be prosecuted and convicted before restitution can be ordered.
Restitution may cover:
reimbursement to insurance companies
Restitution does not cover:
loss of earnings
pain and suffering
For further information, assistance with a restitution claim, or questions/concerns about previously ordered restitution in Chester County, please call CVC at (610) 692-7420.