Victim's Bill of Rights

The following information outlines the basic Bill of Rights for victims in Pennsylvania under Act 155 of 1992.

A victim has the right:

  • To receive basic information on the services available;
  • To be notified of significant criminal justice actions and proceedings;
  • To be accompanied to all criminal justice proceedings by an advocate or family member;
  • To submit prior comment on the potential reduction or dismissal of a charge or change in a plea when a personal injury crime or burglary is involved;
  • To have prior comment on sentencing decisions to include the submission of a Victim Impact Statement;
  • To be restored to the pre-crime economic status through restitution, compensation through the Crime Victims Compensation Program and the expeditious return of property;
  • To be given the opportunity to provide prior comment on and receive notice of post-sentencing release decisions involving an offender who is sentenced to a state correctional institution when a personal injury crime is involved;
  • To receive notice of the release of an offender from a local correctional facility and immediate notice of the escape of such offender in cases involving personal injury;
  • To receive immediate notice of the release of an offender on bail from a local correctional facility when the offender either violates a protection form abuse (PFA) Order or commits a personal injury crime against a victim protected by the order;
  • To receive notice when an offender is transferred form a state correctional institution to a mental health facility and of the discharge, transfer or escape of the offender from the mental health facility; and
  • To have assistance in the preparation of, submission of and follow-up on victim compensation claims;

A victim also has the statutory right to be present at trials, including murder trials, if the prohibition of their presence is based on whether or not the victim will provide input during the sentencing phase of the proceeding; as well as to be present at executions providing the victim has registered with and been selected by the Victim Advocate. Act 80 of 1998.