Victims Resource Center offers a broad spectrum of services to men, women, adolescents and children who are victims of crime, as well as their family members and friends affected by the incident. Services are always free of charge and confidential.
Services Provided by VRC
Helping victims become survivors since 1974.
24-hour telephone hotline
Staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by trained counselor/advocates to provide crisis intervention and supportive counseling, safety planning and information and referral services to victims of crime and/or their significant others. Counselor/Advocates provide emotional support, guidance, counseling, and assess the victim’s needs in response to a crisis arising from victimization. The goal of crisis intervention is to provide a means of managing the emotionally significant event and help the victim to outline the steps necessary to address concerns related to the crisis. Each office has a hotline for victims of crime to call. Carbon County: 610-379-0151, Luzerne County: 570-823-0765 and Wyoming County: 570-836-5544
Counselor/Advocates can also provide information on the other resources in the community. These referrals include: resources to housing, food, clothing and furniture resources; public assistance; child care; education and job training; legal services; transportation; parenting services; drug and alcohol services; family counseling; domestic relations office; health providers; and services for the elderly, differently-abled, lesbian women, and other diverse groups.
24-hour support to domestic violence victims
For Wyoming County victims of domestic violence or their family/friends can call the hotline 570-836-5544 to request help. A VRC counselor/advocate is available to accompany and provide support to a victim when they go to the hospital to receive emergency treatment or apply for an emergency protection from abuse order (PFA).
Accompaniment to hospitals and medical care
VRC Counselor/Advocates are available 24-hours a day to go with you to offer emotional support, to explain your rights as a crime victim, and to explain the process and options available to you. Just call the VRC 24-hour hotline at 570-823-0765 to request accompaniment to any local hospital or Child Advocacy Center. All services of VRC are available for women, men and children and are confidential, provided at no cost.
Accompaniment to emergency medical care:
Victims Resource Center Counselor/Advocates respond to hospitals for medical accompaniment for victims of violent crime including incidents of domestic violence (in Wyoming County only) and other assaults to provide assistance in the immediate aftermath of a crime and provide support regarding the victim’s health, safety and physical/emotional impact of the victimization. the Counselor/Advocate’s role is to establish rapport with the victim and to explain the purpose and the steps of the medical examination and answering questions as needed. The Counselor/Advocate may remain with the victim during the medical exam to provide support. The Counselor/Advocate discusses with the victim safety planning strategies, which can include options for safe housing, including shelter, alternative contact plans, obtaining a protection from abuse order, follow up care, confidentiality, the Victims Compensation Assistance Program and VRC services. In order for the victim to make an informed decision, the Counselor/Advocate provides information and options regarding reporting the crime. The Counselor/Advocate’s role is to support whatever decision the victim chooses to make.
Accompaniment to rape exams:
VRC Counselor/Advocates respond to the hospital’s requests for medical accompaniment for sexual assault victims to provide assistance in understanding his/her rights, what to expect during the examination and resources available to the victim in the immediate aftermath of the crime. When responding to the hospital for a sexual assault victim, the Counselor/Advocates have with them the hospital and victim’s contact information, a comfort kit and a copy of the Victims Compensation Assistance Program’s protocol on billing procedures for forensic rape exams. The Counselor/Advocate’s role is to establish rapport with the victim, explain the medical and evidence gathering procedures, and answer questions as needed. The Counselor/Advocate remains with the victim during the medical exam to provide support. The Counselor/Advocate discusses with the victim safety planning strategies which can include options for housing, including shelter; alternative contact plans, obtaining a sexual violence protection order; follow up care, confidentiality, the Victims Compensation Assistance Program and VRC services. In order for the victim to make an informed decision, the Counselor/Advocate provides information and options regarding reporting the crime. The Counselor/Advocate’s role is to support whatever decision the victim chooses to make.
Counselor/Advocates also provide advocacy and accompaniment to child victims who are referred to the Wyoming/Susquehanna County Children’s Advocacy Center, the NEPA Children’s Advocacy Center and the Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center for forensic examinations and interviews.
Law Enforcement Advocacy and Accompaniment
Counselor/Advocates are on call 24/7 and provide accompaniment to police interviews when requested by the victim or police officers. Counselor/Advocates explain to the victim VRC services and their role as a support person. They also explain that they are not part of the legal system and do not do investigations. When possible, the Counselor/Advocate asks if the victim has any questions or concerns he/she would like to discuss before meeting with the police officers. The Counselor/Advocate may remains with the victim during the police questioning, if this is her/his wish. Counselor/Advocates provide individual advocacy on behalf of the victims as issues arise during this phase of the legal process.
Accompaniment-Emergency Justice Related Assistance
Counselor/Advocates provide emergency justice advocacy, accompaniment and support to victims in their efforts to obtain protection and personal safety. Victims are assisted in filing pro se emergency and temporary orders for domestic (Wyoming County only) and sexual violence related cases as well as petitions on behalf of minor children and for intimidation protection orders. Counselor/Advocates provide information to victims on their right to report child abuse and elder abuse incidents and assist victims with these procedures.
Criminal Advocacy/Accompaniment and Civil Advocacy/Accompaniment
VRC provides accompaniment by client request to any criminal or civil legal proceedings. VRC realizes that many of the systems that victims encounter as a result of the victimization are difficult to navigate and create additional stress for the victims. In order to help reduce this stress whenever possible, Counselor/Advocates provide orientation and education to the client prior to the accompaniment. This is provided to the client by phone or in person. During the accompaniment, the goal is to provide a continual source of support and provide additional options available to the victim, as well as individual advocacy, crisis intervention and continued orientation. While providing accompaniment the Counselor/Advocate remains in physical proximity to the victim. This is done to make the victim feel safe and also so the Counselor/Advocate can answer any questions and address any concerns. Counselor/advocates provide advocacy and accompaniment to victims during every stage of the criminal justice process from preliminary hearing through sentencing and during post sentencing parole hearings, both in person and by video conferencing.
Counselor/Advocates provide advocacy and accompaniment to victims during every stage of the civil process from filing for an emergency Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) through the final hearing. In addition in civil cases, VRC refers clients in need of civil legal assistance to North Penn Legal Services (NPLS) and/or Domestic Violence Service Center’s Civil Legal Representation Project (CLRP).
Assistance with crime victims compensation claims
Victims of crime have the right to be compensated financially for their out of pocket losses due to emotional and physical injuries. We assist victims with properly completing the necessary paperwork to file a claim. You can download the .pdf version of the form by clicking here or you can complete an on-line claim by visiting the VCAP website.
Assistance with completing victim impact statements
A victim in a criminal case receives a letter from the court or probation that includes a Victim Impact Statement form for completion and guidelines for completing said form before the sentencing phase of a criminal case. Victim Impact Statements include information concerning the effect that the crime committed by the defendant being sentenced has had on the victim, including but not limited to the physical or psychological effects and financial harm caused to the victim and/or significant others. In cases of homicide, a surviving family member would complete the form. Child victims are encouraged to prepare a Victim Impact Statement that is age appropriate to their needs. Victims are encouraged to focus their comments only on the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced.
VRC Counselor/Advocates can help the victim think about what they want to say and assist them in preparing the statement because this may trigger feelings and memories that are difficult for them. VRC Counselor/Advocates will explain that the purpose of the Victim Impact Statement is to provide crime victims with an avenue to articulate the impact that the crime had and continues to have on them. In cases where the victim is unavailable to come into the office assistance is provided over the phone. VRC Counselor/Advocates can also help prepare each crime victim who chooses to provide an oral victim impact statement in court at the sentencing of the defendant.
Counselor/Advocates are available to help you prepare your victim impact statement by calling 570-823-0765.
Assistance with filing orders
Protection From Abuse (PFA), Sexual Violence Protection Order (SVPO) and Protection from Intimidation (PFI) are all civil protections that are available to help keep victims safe. VRC is available to answer questions about each of these options and to assist you in filing the necessary paperwork.
Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order is available if you are in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury. You must be in or have been in a relationship with or a family member of the person against whom you want to file. A PFA can prohibit abusive conduct, remove the abuser from your residence and other provisions which the judge deems appropriate.
Sexual Violence Protection Order (SVPO) can protect victims of sexual violence from further abuse and/or intimidation by their abuser, regardless of whether or not criminal charges have been filed against the perpetrator.
Protection from Intimidation (PFI) Orders are appropriate in cases of harassment and stalking where the victim and the perpetrator do not have and never had a family, household or intimate partner relationship AND the victim is under the age of 18 AND the perpetrator is over the age of 18.
Call VRC at 570-823-0765 if you have questions about protection orders or would like help filing for a protection order.
Assistance with restitution claim forms
If as a victim of crime your case goes to a criminal trial and you have suffered losses of items you may be eligible for restitution as part of a guilty verdict sentencing. VRC Counselor/Advocates are available to explain restitution and to assist victims working with the criminal justice system for the inclusion of restitution in their final court order.
Community Crisis Response
There are trained Victims Resource Center professionals that will respond to your business, neighborhood, school or community in the aftermath of a criminal incident. This incident is usually sudden, often random and arbitrary. The incident is outside the normal range of human experience and would be markedly distressing to almost anyone. It generally involves threats to life or bodily integrity or a close personal encounter with violence and death. It overwhelms the ordinary human adaptation to life. A team will respond with an intervention model that addresses the immediate crisis response of the members of the business, group or community. This approach facilitates processing of the event/incident, it is not meant to be a long-term counseling response. This service is provided to the affected members of the community at no charge. Call 570-823-0765 to request assistance.
VRC counselor/advocates provide a range of services to individuals during any legal proceeding including orientation to the process, accompaniment and advocacy
VRC counselor/advocates provide intervention to obtain information and provide active and visible support in order for victims to obtain needed services and resources.
Victims Resource Center offers both individual and support group counseling for anyone who is a victim of crime, their families and significant others. Counseling is provided in our offices and at various locations throughout the community.
VRC provides individual counseling to victims and significant others in one on one setting or by phone. VRC individual counseling services are trauma informed and provided by trained Counselor/Advocates. The primary focus of these services is to allow the victim to tell their story and receive the support they need to move through the trauma. Individual counseling assists the victim/significant others in managing the emotionally significant events related to the victimization. Individual counseling assists the victim by utilizing a victim-centered process and in identifying the steps necessary to address his/her concerns. The goal of individual counseling is the empowerment of the client to build coping and personal safety skills and to learn tactics to reduce the stress they are experiencing as a result of the victimization.
VRC trained Counselor/Advocates facilitate support groups which provide a process whereby victims of crime come together to share experiences, gain strength, share resources and options and find healing. These groups help the victims to reduce feelings of isolation. Support Groups offered include:
- Homicide Survivors
- Adult Survivors of childhood sexual abuse
- Children’s Group
- Teen Group
All counseling services are confidential and provided at no cost. If you are interested in counseling or have questions about any of our services, please call 570-823-0765 to speak to one of our Counselor/Advocates.
Information and referral
VRC counselor/advocates provide information and referral to resources that meet victim-identified needs that cannot be met by the center.
Notification of juvenile court proceedings
All victims of juvenile crime have the right to be notified of all juvenile court proceedings. VRC counselor/advocates work with the juvenile probation officer and the prosecutor to ensure these rights.
Referral to safe housing
VRC counselor/advocates provide referrals to victims for a shelter in surrounding counties for the safety of the victim and his or her children.