A victim of a crime suffers tremendous burden, through not only physical pain, but emotional distress, sleepless nights, and time away from work. The physical, emotional, and mental effects of being the victim of a crime may lead to a victim losing their job, their home, and their overall sense of self-worth. Many victims even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can interfere with day-to-day life.
Victims of crime in Pennsylvania may turn to the many available local services and resources, which can help with coping and recovery. This section of our site will navigate you through the legal system, provide you with information about available resources in Pennsylvania, and ultimately try to help you reach justice and find peace.
Many crime victims are unsure of what to expect after reporting a crime, which can make this process much more intimidating. We hope this information allows you to feel more assured throughout the legal process. Click on the links below to learn more about that specific topic.
- PA Criminal Justice System Overview
- PA Civil Justice System Overview
- Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases
- Common Types of Civil Cases
- PA Statute of Limitations in Civil Cases
- Crime Victim Services by County
We have also written about:
- the Rights of Sexual Abuse Victims in PA,
- Civil Liability as a Financial Remedy, and
- Crime Victim Compensation: Insurance Coverage.
You may find these helpful as well.
What to do next?
As a victim of crime, it’s important to follow positive coping strategies. After a trauma, victims should pay special attention to their well-being. Some coping strategies include:
- Finding someone to talk to about how you are feeling, whether a close friend or a counselor
- Keeping a journal
- Re-establishing a daily routine, without overdoing it
- Maintaining a regular sleep routine
- Eating regular, healthy meals
The thought of dealing with the legal system following a crime may be overwhelming at first. It’s important to keep track of some information following a crime, as this information may aid you in your fight for justice. Follow this checklist, as this information could prove useful later:
- Get the name and phone number of the arresting officer or investigating agency.
- Know the county where the crime was committed.
- Establish contact with the District Attorney’s office.
- Learn the name of the judge assigned to the case and where his/her courtroom is located.
- Make copies of all medical bills (this includes physicians as well as psychologists and counseling bills).
- Keep a running log of missed days at work.
As a victim of crime, it is important to understand that you have options for seeking justice. The criminal justice system seeks to prosecute those who have wronged you, but it is not the only avenue you have for seeking justice. The civil justice system presents another opportunity for you to receive compensation for abuse suffered.