Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
Office of Victims' Services Hearings
The Crime Victims Act authorizes the Office of Victims' Services to reimburse eligible crime victims for certain crime-related out-of-pocket losses, when all requirements of the act are met. See 18 P.S. § 11.707.
Following an investigation of the claim and review of supporting documents, the Office of Victims' Services (OVS) makes a determination on the claim whether to grant an award, increase or decrease an award or deny the claim. If OVS is unable to determine if a claim is justified based on the supporting documents, it may direct a hearing before a hearing examiner designated by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency ("Commission"). See 18 P.S. 11.704.
37 Pa. Code § 411.31 allows the claimant to contest the determination of OVS by requesting reconsideration. OVS will review the request for reconsideration and issue a reconsidered determination.
37 Pa. Code § 411.32 allows a claimant to request a hearing to appeal the reconsidered determination of OVS and clarifies the manner in which the hearing must be conducted.
The hearing is conducted in accordance with Title 1 of the Pennsylvania Code, Part II (the General Rules of Administrative Practice and Procedures) to the extent it does not conflict with OVS regulations.
OVS and claimant may each request subpoenas for witnesses and documentary evidence, present testimony in support of their respective positions and cross-examine the opposing party's witnesses.
The hearing officer liberally allows the admission of evidence, a stenographer records the proceeding and witnesses testify under oath,
Hearings are open to the public except in certain circumstances outlined in the regulations. However, there are normally just a few OVS staff and either an advocate or support person of claimant in attendance.
The claimant has the burden of proving entitlement to compensation by a preponderance of the evidence.
Grants Administration Hearings
Grants Administration regulations at 37 Pa. Code § 407.33 allows for a hearing if a subgrantee wishes to appeal termination of funds. However, no hearings have been held to date. Matters have always been resolved through negotiations.
Deputy Sheriffs Education and Training Board Hearings
Deputy Sheriff's Education and Training Board regulations at 37 Pa. Code § 421 allow for a hearing to be requested by an affected individual or sheriff. However, only one hearing has been held to date.
This agency does not conduct a high volume of hearings. As indicated previously, hearings are held within the Office of Victims' Services (OVS) when requested by crime victims to appeal the decision of OVS regarding the claim for compensation. An interpreter has been needed for only one hearing to date. However, I anticipate there may be a need for an interpreter from time to time in the future.
Glossary of common phrases, terms, vocabulary and acronyms:
Award - Payment on a claim for compensation.
Claim - Claim for compensation.
Claimant - Person filing the claim for compensation.
Contribution - Victim's actions contributing to injuries or losses incurred during the crime.
Denial - Non-payment of compensation/denial of claim.
Loss of earnings - Loss of pay from employer due to crime injuries.
OVS - Office of Victims' Services.
PC CD - Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Request for Reconsideration - Claimant's request for VCAP to reconsider claim decision.
Reaffirmation - VCAP's letter reaffirming claim decision.
Stolen Benefit Cash - Cash stolen from a victim whose main source of income is a benefit or pension plan.
VCAP - Victims Compensation Assistance Program.
Victim - Crime victim
Contact Person for Interpreters
3101 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110