The Crime Victims Alliance of Pennsylvania is asking for your help to RESTORE VOJO funding today!
The Governor’s budget eliminated the Victims of Juvenile Offenders line item (VOJO) from the budget this year. This means that come July 1st, 2012, there will be mass lay-offs and a serious reduction of services to crime victims of juvenile offenders in the Commonwealth.
On average, VOJO funded programs provide rights and services to approximately 60,000 victims, 23,000 witnesses and 9,000 significant others in the juvenile justice system each year.
VICTIMS RIGHTS AND SERVICES ARE MANDATED BY LAW:
The Pennsylvania Crime Victim Act (CVA) requires that victims of crime be provided with basic rights and services in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, placing significant responsibility on county District Attorneys Offices and Juvenile Probation Offices.
In 2000, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted PA Act 86 expanding the rights and services mandated for victims in the criminal justice system, to cover crime victims in the juvenile justice system.
In the Juvenile Justice System, the county District Attorneys Offices and Juvenile Probation Offices are mandated by law to notify victims of significant court actions including prior notice of hearings, notify victims of changes in the status of the juvenile including a delinquent’s escape or release, assist in submitting written and oral victim impact statements to the court, assist in the completion of victims compensation claims, provide the victim an opportunity to provide prior comment on pending dropping of charges or plea agreements.
All 67 counties receive VOJO funding. This funding program ensures that these rights and services are fully operationalized through the employment of approximately 173 Victim/Witness Coordinators, with the experience and training to provide a range of help including information, support, advocacy, restitution and compensation claims assistance, and court accompaniment, mostly from District Attorneys Offices and Juvenile Probation Office.
The responsibility for providing these services resides with local county government. Without adequate state funding, county government would be forced to find other funding to meet these obligations.
MEETING THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH:
VOJO is a dedicated program that addresses the unique needs of crime victims faced with navigating the complex and foreign landscape of the juvenile justice system.
VOJO services enable victims to fully understand and participate in the juvenile justice system through culturally sensitive and timely information, counseling support, and accompaniment through difficult proceedings, crisis intervention, advocacy, and referrals.
VOJO services are designed to ensure that the victim’s experience in the juvenile justice system is positive, regardless of the outcome of the investigation and trial/adjudication.
PLEASE HELP US SAVE THE VOJO FUND TODAY BY SIGNING ON AND PASSING IT ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!