VOCA: Helping Victims of Crime Get the Healthcare They Deserve - A Year in Review

In October 2019, PHLP launched a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program to help victims of crime secure healthcare. To date, the program has secured and maintained Medicaid benefits, including long-term services and supports, for more than 140 low-income victims.  

Our VOCA clients range from ages 7 to 85 and have faced numerous physical and/or mental injuries as a result of the crimes committed against them. They include survivors severely injured from gun violence in need of personal assistance service; survivors of severe domestic violence in need of physical and mental health treatment; children bullied and sexually assaulted in schools in need of residential treatment facilities; victims sexually assaulted as children and as adults needing drug and alcohol rehabilitation; victims of DUI and Hit and Run with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in need of home-based services.  

PHLP provides outreach and educates victims and their advocates about Medicaid. This fall we presented two trainings “Medicaid: What Every Victim Advocate Needs to know, sponsored by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys’ Association’s Foundational Academy, and “Navigating the Medical Assistance Maze for Domestic Violence Survivors,” sponsored by Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) at their annual conference. Despite the pandemic , we’ve presented (virtually) to over 30 victims service agencies reaching approximately 500 victims and victim advocates publicizing our message: “You Are Not Alone.” Our audience included victims of crime and their families, victim service programs, District Attorney’s offices, hospital social workers and critical care nurses, and other non-profit organizations serving victims.  

Outreach to organizations who directly serve survivors of crime is an integral aspect of the work we do. We frequently answer many Medicaid-related questions from advocates. We are still building partnerships with other victim service organizations.  As we enter a new year, we will reach out to special populations of survivors including those in the immigrant community, victim support groups, and gun violence survivors.  

Medicaid can be difficult to navigate.  The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) allows PHLP to be a go-to resource for victims, their families, and advocates to secure and maintain Medicaid coverage and services.  

For additional information please contact: aramachandran@phlp.org, ldempsey@phlp.org