Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Office of Victims’ Services in the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is now accepting sexual assault counseling claims for victims of sexual abuse. This claim process, which was enacted as part of Act 87 of 2019, covers the costs of therapy and counseling for victims of childhood and adult sexual abuse in the commonwealth.
“With this new process, victims of one of the most unimaginable crimes have another means of receiving the support they deserve,” Gov. Wolf said. “My executive order for mental health support, Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters, emphasizes the need to remove barriers to mental health care and this monetary support for counseling services can help eliminate barriers to vital wellness care for sexual assault survivors.”
The sexual assault counseling claim process is modeled after the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP), which also provides financial support to victims after a crime has occurred. Unlike standard VCAP claims, sexual assault victims seeking counseling services related to their abuse under this new claim process are not required to have reported the assault to police or other authorities to be eligible to receive these counseling benefits.
Under the law, a direct victim of sexual abuse who at the time of the crime was 18 or older is potentially eligible for up to $5,000 in counseling services. A direct victim of sexual abuse who at the time of the crime was under 18 is potentially eligible for up to $10,000 in counseling services. Counseling services include mental health therapy performed by or under the supervision of a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed professional counselor, or licensed social worker.
To be considered for an award under this claim process, a direct victim/claimant must first submit a completed Sexual Assault Counseling Claim form to PCCD’s VCAP unit. The form can be found online at PCCD’s website, by calling 1-800-233-2339 or emailing ra-davesupport.@pa.gov.