By Marcy Norton
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Victims of some of Pennsylvania’s most violent, sexual predators are getting better information about what’s happening with their attackers. It’s the result of a new partnership between victims’ advocates and state police.
Any time a person is identified as a sexually violent predator by the courts, law requires state police to keep victims updated on changes in the offender’s status – when they’re released, where they’re working and living and if that person moves. But Jennifer Storm of the state’s Office of Victim Advocate says that role was a challenge for state police.
“They’re traditionally not in the role of providing victim services, so often times the address that they had or contact information that they had for the victims was either outdated or they were really having a hard time identifying the victim.”
So Storm says it was a no-brainer for her office to work with the state police to improve notifications. In the last two months alone, Storm says the program has identified and registered 798 crime victims who otherwise were not receiving updated notifications about their offenders.
But in order to get the notifications, victims need to opt-in to the service by registering with the Office of Victim Advocate. Then, they can choose a method of notification – by text, email or in writing.