Prosecutors Create Victim Services Committee

November 10, 2020

Keeping Crime Victims’ Issues Front and Center for D.A.s

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania’s District Attorneys Association (PDAA) today announced the formation of the Victim Services Committee. The committee will develop and approve guidance for prosecutors related to crime victim rights and services and act as a liaison between the association and the commonwealth’s victim services community.

“Standing up for victims of crime is at the core of what prosecutors do,” said PDAA President and Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch. “Adding the Victim Services Committee to our association’s leadership structure ensures that victims of crime and the services provided to victims will remain at the center of our policy goals.”

Pennsylvania prosecutors are consistently proactive on issues related to victims of crime. The association played an active role advocating for the passage of laws to help our most vulnerable victims have their voices heard in court, supporting restitution, passing Marsy’s Law (a constitutional amendment to elevate the current Crime Victims’ Rights Act), funding and supporting Child Advocacy Centers and implementing PASAVIN, Pennsylvania’s automated crime victim notification system. In addition, the association’s education and training arm, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute, houses the commonwealth’s Victim Services Foundational Academy to train victims’ services professionals through a grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Pike County District Attorney and past president of the PDAA, Raymond Tonkin will chair the committee. Among its first projects

District Attorney Raymond Tonkin

Ray Tonkin, Pike County District Attorney

will be to develop guidance outlining a district attorney’s responsibilities as outlined in Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims’ Rights Act and reach out to the state’s diverse victim services advocates and organizations.

“This new committee formalizes the work PDAA already does to ensure victims of crime can proceed through the criminal justice system with dignity and respect,” said Tonkin. “Prosecutors want to ensure the victims voices are heard. This initiative will ensure the subject matter will come up every time the PDAA meets.”

PDAA’s Victims Services Committee was created and approved by a unanimous vote of the association’s executive committee at its Fall Meeting. The PDAA represents approximately 1000 prosecutors and law enforcement throughout Pennsylvania.  Throughout its history, PDAA has been a leader in matters of public safety.  More information about PDAA is available here.

# # #

November 10, 2020

Contact: Lindsay Vaughan, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association lvaughan@pdaa.org or (717) 238-5416.