PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia District Attorneys Office and the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate teamed up Thursday to mark the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and to talk about services available to victims of violent crimes.
Pennsylvania has increased the number of victims from violent crimes who can get services, including protective services, through the DA’s office and the state Office of Victim Advocate, or OVA.
District Attorney Kelley Hodge says 47 percent more people took advantage of these services this year over last.
“We are currently providing post-sentencing services to about 1,000 Philadelphians whose offenders have been sentenced to state prison, and we continue to focus on helping victims stay safe, make their voices heard, and begin to heal,” she said.
OVA’s Jennifer Storm explained what kind of services are available, especially when their offender gets parole.
“It could mean active GPS, it could mean geographical restrictions. So if someone lives in Philadelphia and their offender is returning to Philadelphia, it could mean ‘I live and work in Northeast Philadelphia and I don’t want my offender in this area,'” Storm explained. “We can do a geographical restriction that says they’re not allowed to be in that area.”
Movita Johnson-Harrell lost her 18-year-old son in a murder which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. She says it’s important for victims to get these services.
“It’s important to those who are victims get the services and supports that they so severely need, but not just that they get them, but that they get them in a empathetic, sincere, and loving manner,” she said.
Services are available at the county and state level. For more information, go to ova.pa.gov.