HARRISBURG – Gov. Edward G. Rendell today said that all Pennsylvania counties will benefit from $20 million in grants that were awarded to support programs aimed at helping crime victims.
Clearfield County was awarded a total of $148,300.
“Crime victims go through a very tough time even after the crime has been committed. It is imperative to support and fund programs that help these victims overcome what has happened to them and provide them with a sense of control and safety in their lives” said Rendell. “These grants ensure that crime victims are not alone as they go through the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and that their voice is heard every step of the way.”
Of the $20.4 million in grants, more than $13 million was awarded to district attorney offices and victim service programs to provide advocacy for victims of adult offenders, including crisis intervention, notification of court proceedings, court accompaniment, help with victim impact statements and assistance in filing a claim with Pennsylvania’s victim compensation assistance program. These funds were generated from penalties levied against offenders in the criminal justice system under the state’s Rights and Services Act, known as RASA. No tax dollars were involved.
The remaining money, approximately $6.6 million, was awarded to district attorney offices and victim service programs to provide the same advocacy for victims whose offenders are being prosecuted through the juvenile justice system. Known as VOJO, those state funds are earmarked in the budget each year to provide aid to victims of juvenile crime.
“As a former district attorney, I have witnessed the positive impact of advocacy in victims’ lives and in their ability to heal,” Rendell said. “Whether it’s helping victims to understand what’s happening at different stages of the court system, helping them to prepare a statement that explains to a judge how a crime has devastated their life, or helping them to file a claim to get reimbursed for costly medical or counseling expenses, there’s no question that advocates are tremendously important to all crime victims in Pennsylvania.”
Administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the two-year grants are distributed based on a formula that averages the five most recent years of crime statistics, local penalty collections and county population.