Philadelphia City Branding Image
PhillyCounts
Resources
Services for Victims and Witnesses
Witness Intimidation
It is the policy of the District Attorney's Office to actively discourage the intimidation of victims and witnesses through the use of appropriately restrictive bail conditions, criminal contempt, and additional criminal charges and sanctions as outlined by the Victim/Witness Intimidation Statute. In addition, victims are encouraged to use the Victim/Witness Waiting Rooms when they go to court. To report intimidation, please contact the Philadelphia Police Department. In case of immediate danger, call 911.

It is also recommended that, in addition to calling the police, those experiencing intimidation related to a criminal case contact the assigned Assistant District Attorney or Victim/Witness Coordinator. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.

Case Status
As a victim or witness in a criminal case, you have the right to be informed of the status of your case. For case information, please contact the Assistant District Attorney or Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, call the Victim/Witness Services Unit main number at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.
Victim's Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP)
The Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) helps victims and their families through the emotional and physical aftermath of a crime by easing the financial impact placed upon them by the crime. If you have experienced certain financial losses related to a crime, you may be eligible for reimbursement by the state of Pennsylvania through VCAP.

Please note that reimbursement comes from the state of Pennsylvania through the Victims Compensation Assistance Program, not the District Attorney's Office or the City of Philadelphia.

You may be eligible for compensation if:

  • The crime occurred in Pennsylvania;
  • The crime occurred within the last two years;
  • The crime was reported to an authority within 72 hours or a Protection from Abuse order was filed within 72 hours (some exceptions apply);
  • You have paid or owe at least $100 of any combination of the expenses listed below. If you are age 60 or older, there is no minimum loss requirement.

You may receive compensation for:

  • Loss of earnings due to physical disability resulting from the crime
  • Medical expenses
  • Counseling expenses
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of support
  • Relocation expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Crime-scene cleanup
  • Transportation expenses
  • Childcare
  • Home healthcare expenses
  • Stolen cash if your main source of income is Social Security Retirement, Disability Income, Supplemental Income, Survivor Benefits, Retirement/Pension(s), Disability, or Court-Ordered Child/Spousal Support

To file a claim for compensation, please contact the Victims Compensation Assistance Program at 1-800-233-2339 or visit their website www.pccd.state.pa.us and click on “Victims of Crime.”

The District Attorney's Office can provide assistance with filing compensation claims or can refer you to an agency in your neighborhood that can provide this assistance. If you have questions regarding compensation or would like assistance filling out the paperwork, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.

Restitution
As a victim of crime, you may be entitled to restitution. Restitution is financial payment paid by a defendant found guilty of a crime to compensate for damages and expenses incurred by the victim as a direct result of the crime. Victims may request restitution for damaged or stolen property, medical expenses, or other losses incurred. Restitution can only be ordered if the defendant is found guilty and, depending on the case, may be paid over an extended period of time or all at once. Restitution must be ordered at the time of sentencing, and can be ordered even if the offender is sentenced to serve time in a correctional facility. Therefore, it is important that you submit your request as soon as possible.

Restitution questionnaires are sent to all victims as soon as an arrest is made. If you have not received one, you may fill out and submit the following form.

If you have financial losses due to the crime and you intend to request restitution, it is important to fill out the questionnaire and send it back as soon as possible. If you have questions or require additional information, you may contact the Assistant District Attorney or Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.

Once restitution is ordered, the defendant is responsible for making payment to the victim through the Adult or Juvenile Probation Offices. You may contact the First Judicial District Adult Probation Offices at (215) 683-1452 or the Juvenile Probation Offices at (215) 686-7058 to check the status of your restitution. If the offender is in a State Prison, you should contact the Office of the Victim Advocate for payment status at 1-800-322-4472 or www.ova.state.pa.us.

Court Accompaniment
If you are scheduled to appear in court as a victim or witness on a case and have questions or concerns about the court process, the Victim/Witness Services Unit of the District Attorney's Office may be able to provide a Victim/Witness Coordinator to accompany you to court or refer you to an agency that can provide this service. As a victim of crime, you also have a legal right to bring a support person of your choosing with you to court.

If you are interested in having someone accompany you to court or have any questions or concerns about your case, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.

Victim/Witness Waiting Rooms
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office has Victim/Witness waiting rooms located in the Criminal Justice Center (1301 Filbert Street) and in Family Court (1801 Vine Street). The waiting rooms provide a secure area for victims, witnesses, and their support people to wait prior to testifying. If you would like to use one of the waiting rooms, please speak to the Assistant District Attorney or Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.
Transportation
If you have a disability or are over the age of 60, the Victim/Witness Services Unit may be able to assist you with transportation to and from court. Please speak with the Assistant District Attorney or Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov. If you do not have a disability, are not elderly, and are experiencing challenges getting to court, please contact the Victim/Witness Services Unit to discuss your options for traveling to and from court.
Victim Impact Statement (VIS)
If a defendant in a criminal case is found guilty, he/she will be scheduled for a sentencing hearing. During this phase of the court proceedings, the victim or the victim's family may have the opportunity to address the judge and provide information about the physical, emotional, psychological, and financial effects that the crime has had on the victim's life. The Victim Impact Statement is not intended to be a recounting of the facts of the case, but rather a statement about the impact of the crime. This statement is taken into account by the judge when determining the defendant's sentence. The Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case can assist you in preparing a Victim Impact Statement.

A Victim Impact Statement may be submitted orally or in writing. Please note that the submission of a Victim Impact Statement is voluntary. Please click here to generate a blank Victim Impact Statement

If you would like assistance or have questions regarding submitting a Victim Impact Statement, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.

Property Return
During the course of a criminal investigation and trial, a victim's personal belongings may be held by the police or the District Attorney's Office to be tested or used as evidence. Once the case is over, the victim has a right to have these items returned. If you had personal property held during the prosecution of a criminal case and need assistance in having these items returned, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov. Alternatively, you may contact the unit of the District Attorney’s Office that handled the case if that information is available to you. You will be directed to a Victim/Witness Coordinator who can assist you in getting your property returned to you.
Witness Fees
As a victim or witness of crime you are entitled to receive a $5.00 fee for each court appearance for which you are subpoenaed. You must request this witness fee from the assigned Assistant District Attorney in court at the end of your case. The fee will take approximately 4-8 weeks to process. If you have any questions, please speak with the Assistant District Attorney or Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.
Release Notification Offender Release, Transfer, or Escape
Victims and concerned citizens have the ability to register for immediate notification of an inmate's release, transfer, or escape from Philadelphia county or Pennsylvania State correctional facilities. Notifications are provided through the Pennsylvania Statewide Victim Information and Notification system (PA SAVIN). To learn more about PA SAVIN or to register for automated notification via telephone or email, please visit www.pacrimevictims.state.pa.us or call 1-866-9PA-SAVIN (TTY: 1-866-847-1298). If you would like assistance registering for SAVIN notification regarding the release of an inmate in a Philadelphia county correctional facility, you may call 215-685-7978.
Parole Hearing Notification
In certain circumstances, a convicted offender who is serving time in a correctional facility may be eligible for parole. When an offender is scheduled for a parole hearing to determine whether or not parole will be granted, the victim(s) on the case have the right to be notified of the parole hearing and to provide in-person, video, oral, or written input into parole decisions. In order to be notified of such events and provide input into parole decisions, the victim must register with the Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate at 1-800-563-6399 or http://www.pbpp.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/home/5298. The Office of the Victim Advocate can also assist victims with registering for notifications via PA SAVIN.

The District Attorney's Office can provide the registration materials for both SAVIN and the Office of the Victim Advocate’s notification programs along with providing assistance in filling out the registration forms in court or over the phone. If you would like copies of the registration forms or need assistance in completing them, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator assigned to your case. If you are unsure who to contact, please call the Victim/Witness Services Unit at (215) 686-8027 or email DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.

Please note that you MUST be registered in order to access these services.