Victim/Witness Advocate

Victim/Witness Advocate

Victim/Witness Services
814-949-5540
Sheetz Family Health Center
Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; 6 - 8 p.m., Monday through Tuesday

A message can be left on the answering machine after hours. Calls will be returned the next business day. Emergency contact can be made through Residential Life Staff or University Police.

Other Resources

Blair County Victim/Witness Coordinator, Blair County Courthouse
814-693-3018

Community Crisis Center
814-946-2279

The Impact of the Crime

Victims of crime frequently experience a range of emotions, including denial, disbelief, shock, anger, frustration, fear, self-blame, embarrassment, and feelings of helplessness. These emotions often result in victims being immobilized by confusion and uncertainty at a time when they need to make decisions. In addition, many victims feel a loss of control over things that have kept them safe and secure in the past.

If you are a victim of a crime, it is important to know that you are not alone in your feelings and reactions. Whether or not you decide to pursue legal action, it will help your own emotional recovery to talk about what has happened. It is also important that you find out what options and rights you have as a crime victim.

Many individuals who have been forced, coerced, or threatened into engaging in unwanted sexual activity with someone they know do not realize they have been the victim of a crime and are, therefore, reluctant to report the incident. These types of incidents, as well as sexual assaults by strangers, are extremely traumatizing for victims. Victims of other types of crimes, such as theft, assault, harassment, acts of intolerance, relationship violence, and harassment by communications also are subject to a variety of emotional reactions and feelings of vulnerability. If you have been the victim of or witness to any type of crime, you are encouraged to contact the victim/witness advocate at 814-949-5540 to discuss your situation.

Victim Witness Services

Any Penn State student, employee, or guest who has been the victim of or a witness to a crime, either on or off campus, may request the following services, which are provided free of charge:

  • crisis intervention
  • referral for counseling and/or other emergency services (shelter, food, transportation)
  • a support person through Family & Children's Services during medical exam following a sexual assault
  • explanation of court and legal procedures
  • assistance in preparing for court appearances
  • accompaniment to police interviews, court appearances, and University hearings
  • information regarding victim's rights, crime victim's compensation, and restitution
  • verification provided to employers or instructors of time missed from class or work due to the crime or to participation in the legal system
  • assistance in obtaining protection from intimidation and harassment
  • ongoing information pertaining to case status
  • assistance in preparing a victim's "impact statement" prior to sentencing
  • other advocacy services as dictated by the victim's circumstances
  • information on personal safety and minimizing the risks of being victimized

Above all, it is the Victim/Witness Advocate's goal to see that you are treated with consideration, respect, and sensitivity. By reporting a crime and becoming a witness, you can help to ensure that our criminal justice system works to protect both you and other innocent victims of crime.

A Victim's Bill of Rights

  • The right to be treated with dignity and compassion.
  • The right to protection from intimidation and harm.
  • The right to be informed about the criminal justice process.
  • The right to counsel.
  • The right to receive compensation for damages.
  • The right to preservation of property and employment.
  • The right to due process in criminal court proceedings.

How to Help a Friend

If someone you know has been the victim of a crime, whether its rape, burglary, harassment, or even a stolen wallet, being victimized is traumatic and devastating. Victims need special support and caring from their friends.

  • Be willing to listen without judging or giving advice. Be supportive.
  • Avoid blaming the victim. Its NEVER the victim's fault.
  • Don't tell the victim how or how not to feel. Its normal for victims to experience a variety of emotions.
  • Encourage action. Suggest contacting the police, a counselor, and/or seeking medical attention if needed.
  • Be patient and understanding. There is no timetable for recovery.