PCVA Candle Lighting Ceremony – April 4th, 6:00pm

The Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy invites you to attend the annual Candle Lighting Ceremony.

This ceremony honors victims and survivors of violence in Philadelphia and helps on their road to healing. Please join us in remembering and honoring victims and survivors of violence and take a stand against violence in our community.

Friday April 4, 2014
Doors open at 6:00 pm
Ceremony begins at 6:30 pm

First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA

Designated street parking available on the 2100-2400 blocks of Chestnut St. or 22nd Street from Walnut to Arch Street. Parking placard required and available at check-in or via e-mail at vwssp@aol.com. Look for the reserved spots with a yellow flyer attached. For handicapped parking or more information contact Phu at 215-551-3360

The following PCVA member organizations are participating in this event:

Adult Probation Parole Department

The Adult Probation Parole Department provides direct services to victims of crime in the preparation of victim impact statements, restitution collection and assistance with harassment, intimidation and domestic violence complaints against probationers and parolees.

1401 Arch Street, 1st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102


Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia (AVP)

AVP is committed to providing advocacy and support for family members and friends of homicide victims. AVP provides mental health services to child victims and co-victims; offers violence prevention training to children and adults; and works to effect change in public and private institutions and society at large in areas relating to crime and violence.

2000 Hamilton Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130


Archdiocese of Philadelphia, The Office of Child and Youth Protection

The Office of Child and Youth Protection provides services through its Victim Assistance Office to adult survivors of child sexual abuse which occurred by clergy or any other person representing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Victim Assistance Coordinators assist adults and children in reporting sex abuse and assault to the local law enforcement authorities as well as to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Crisis intervention, ongoing counseling, specialized treatment services, and emergency services are provided. The Office also provides ongoing education to children, parents, all priests and deacons, and anyone who works with children in Archdiocesan facilities and parishes. Training focuses on the protection and prevention of child sex abuse.

222 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


CARIE (Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly)

CARIE is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the well being, rights and autonomy of older persons, age 60 and older, through advocacy, education and action.

100 North 17th St., Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19103


CCCVS – Center City Crime Victim Services

CCCVS provides information and support to victims of crime in center city Philadelphia. In addition, CCCVS provides court accompaniment and assistance with filing Crime Victims Compensation.

42 S. 15th Street, Suite 1103
Philadelphia, PA 19102


CcTC – Children’s Crisis Treatment Center

Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CcTC) is a private, non-profit agency that provides mental health services to children who have experienced abuse, neglect or other traumatic events. CcTC’s services include the Trauma Assistance Program, Sexual Trauma Treatment Program, West African Refugee Assistance Program, Therapeutic Camp, Psychiatric Services, and Parent/Caregiver Services. CcTC also offers professional training on a variety of topics related to children’s behavioral and mental health.

1823 Callowhill Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130


Congreso De Latinos Unidos

Congreso is a community-based organization that works in the impoverished neighborhoods of Eastern North Philadelphia. Through a variety of social services and community development projects, Congreso works to empower people and creates opportunities for learning and self-development.

216 West Somerset Street
Philadelphia, PA 19133


Dr. Dana Sinopoli, Psy. D.

A licensed psychologist in private practice in Center City specializing in working with survivors of trauma, particularly sexual trauma. Now accepting new patients

100 South Broad Street, Suite 1114
Philadelphia, PA 19107


Dr. Robin Lowey & Associates LLC

For more than 25 years Dr. Lowey & Associates has provided help, offering programs of behavioral healthcare to area residents. Services are provided in a private practice supportive setting for children and adults affected by the trauma caused by crime, abuse and catastrophes. Treatment for depression, anxiety and family issues is also available.

1518 Walnut St., Suite 307
Philadelphia, PA 19102


FAVOR International

Restoration Interdenominational Ministries is a community of faith/a Christian Church Ministry.

440 Snyder Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148


Nicholas Natalicchio

3349 Conrad Street, Apt 5
Philadelphia, PA 19129


North Central Victim Services

Community Based Victim Services – A place for help, healing and hope. Specializing in Senior Citizens.

1722 Cecil B. Moore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19121


Northeast Victim Service

Northeast Victim Service is the independent non-profit agency helping the victims and witnesses of crime in northeast Philadelphia since 1992.

Revere Commons, Suite 4; 2824 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19149


Northwest Victim Services

Neighborhood based victim service agency that provides support information and service to victims of crime, their families, friends and neighbors in Northwest Philadelphia.

6301 Germantown Avenue 2nd floor #1
Philadelphia, PA 19144-1936


Office of the Victim Advocate, Pennsylvania

The Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) represents the rights and interests of crime victims before the Board of probation and Parole and the Department of Corrections. In addition, the Office of the Victim Advocate also provides notification to crime victims of the potential for inmate release and opportunity to provide testimony, notification of the inmate’s movement within the correctional system, referrals for crime victims to local programs, basic crisis intervention and support, general information on the status and location of the inmate as allowed by law. OVA also provides notifications and supportive services to victims and families of homicide victims involved with capital cases. ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM Pennsylvania has a program to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking through the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). It provides eliegible victims with an alternative mailing address. A victim service professional froma domestic violence, sexual assault or a victim service program can help determine if ACP is right for a victim as part of the safety plan.

1101 South Front Street, Suite 5200
Philadelphia, PA 17104


Patricia Payne

Independent Consultant and former Executive Director for Northwest Victims Services. Ms. Payne is a graduate of Lincoln University’s Master of Human Services Program with undergrad studies in Psychology at Philadelphia OIC MiniVersity, Cheney University and Temple University. Ms. Payne is currently a consultant for non- profit organizations. Her volunteer/community affiliations include: Member, Women’s Board Abington Hospital, Development Chair- Dickens Auxiliary Abington Hospital, Membership Chair- Minister’s Wives of Philadelphia & Vicinity, and Strategic Plan Chair for the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy

Philadelphia, PA 19101


Philadelphia Children’s Alliance

A private non-profit agency, the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance was founded in 1989 with the cooperation of the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Police Department, the office of the District Attorney, Children’s Hospital and various mental health agencies. The Alliance works to provide a child-friendly facility for the coordinated intervention and investigation of child sexual abuse in the city of Philadelphia. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the possibility of multiple interviews of children in the investigation of child abuse and make the investigation process itself less traumatic for the family.

300 East Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19124


Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office – Victim/Witness Unit

The mission of the Victim/Witness Services Unit of the District Attorney’s Office is to advocate for victims and witnesses of crime and be of direct assistance to victims and witnesses from the time of arrest through the disposition of the case and after as needed. Our goal is to ensure that victims and witnesses are treated with compassion and respect.

see Programs for addresses
Philadelphia, PA


Philadelphia Juvenile Probation Victim Services Unit

The Juvenile Probation Victim Services Unit aims to reduce the trauma by assisting clients, crime victims, witnesses, parents and significant others to reconstruct and restore their lives through advocacy, support, information and referrals. The Juvenile Probation Victim Services Unit strives to prevent further victimization by intervening on behalf of our clients.

1801 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


Philadelphia Police Department, Victim Services Unit

Recognizing that police officers are the first to respond to victims at a time when they are in greatest need of assistance; and that the manner in which police officers treat victims affects not only their ability to cope with the crime, but also their willingness to prosecute, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner implemented a comprehensive police-based Victim Assistance Program in 1987, placing police officers in a pivotal role in providing assistance to victims of crime. Services provided by Victim Assistance Officers (VAO) include, but are not limited to: Assisting eligible victims in applying for victim compensations; Providing referrals to community agencies; Making an initial contact with victims who have not sought out assistance; Maintaining a liaison with the community agencies to provide current/accurate referrals; Maintaining a liaison with the D.A.’s Office; Providing remedial and supplemental training of police personnel within their district and disseminate victim assistance related information and updates to relevant personnel; Providing support to abused victims; Providing guidance throughout the criminal justice system; and Making home visits to victims who are unable to travel.

990 Spring Garden Street, Suite 402
Philadelphia, PA 19123
215-685-3278 (3279)


SeniorLaw Center

Senior Law Center serves senior citizens aged 60 and older residing in Philadelphia.

100 S. Broad St., Suite 1810
Philadelphia, PA 19110


Support Center for Child Advocates

Legal and social service advocacy for child victims of abuse and neglect; with the goal of securing a permanent nurturing environment for every child.

1900 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


University of Pennsylvania, Division of Public Safety/Special Services

The University of Pennsylvania, Division of Public Safety’s Special Services Department is responsible for safety education and victim support services. Special Services offers a comprehensive program to assist members of the Penn community with special problems requiring resource center intervention.

4040 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia (V/WSSP)

V/WSSP is an independent, non-profit agency that has been providing direct services to crime victims in South Philadelphia since 1989. The agency responds both to the individual needs of victims, helping them to negotiate the criminal justice system and providing appropriate counseling and social service referrals and to the needs of the communities in which victims and witnesses reside, providing community education regarding crime prevention and strengthening the relationship between local agencies and communities in South Philadelphia. It is a comprehensive community-based victim services program that provides support and information to victims and witnesses of crime in the four South Philadelphia Police Districts – 1st, 3rd, 4th & 17th. The Asian & Latino Outreach Projects provide culturally appropriate outreach and crime prevention information to the Asian and Latino communities in South Philadelphia and address the needs of the community members should they be victimized. The languages served are: Cantonese, English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

1426 South 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147


Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR)

WOAR provides comprehensive services to victim/survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse as well as to their significant others. Services include individual support group counseling, court/medial emergency room accompaniment, crisis intervention via 24 hour 7 days a week hotline (215.985.3330). Prevention education programs to schools, community and professional groups about sexual violence issues. WOAR serves adults and children.

One Penn Center, 1617 JFKennedy Blvd., Suite 1100
Philadelphia, PA 19103


When Violence Hits Home


I recently had a discussion with my husband, whose family was a direct product of violence, asking him how it affected him and his entire family.

“There’s no end to the affect it has,” he said reflective.  This type of trauma when brought up to those closest to it doesn’t go away.  In fact, after speaking with him again, I realized that it’s the picture of dominos set up to infinity.  After knocking the first one down, the others are knocked down as well – not necessarily in the same time frame as the first domino, but eventually it hits them as well. I was one of those hit a little later in the game, so to speak.  The ones who were affected earlier on softened my blow, but it was indeed a hard hit nonetheless.

This “blow”, this “hit” – is to your heart.  No one ever wants to see a loved one die – let alone tragically.  Especially when you think deep down that it could have been prevented in some way.

It’s been almost twenty years now since my husband lost two of his first cousins to violence.  Both were shot to death, dying only a couple of years apart from each other.  Just as the family was overcoming one death, another happened. Because the cousins were twins, the trauma and grief experienced from the mother and father, grandmother, grandfather, cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends – was endless.  It was jaw–dropping, chilling, unbelievable torment – to know that two young men’s lives would be cut short.

What was even more heart-wrenching was the fact that due to the family’s limited availability and awareness to resources, no one helped them cope.  No counseling, no help with the funerals, no financial relief, just the steadfast leaning on their faith and each other as family.  Even to this day, no one is exactly sure who committed these crimes of violence and hatred.


I read an article just today about a similar act of violence in Southwest Philadelphia. Six people were shot and one killed.  Age ranges were 18-23, same age range as my husband’s cousins.  And because of the crowd, and because of the way an assisting car was positioned, no one is sure of who actually is to be accused of this crime at this time.  And while I’m sure police officers and news carriers alike are as tired as they come of seeing people walking the streets taking other’s lives, the reality is someone’s child is dead.  Someone’s brother, sister, aunt or uncle is hurting.  And without intervention and prevention the cycle continues. Without education and heightened importance of community, schools, and families banning together for the fight against crime, history will continue to repeat itself.  Without our outrage at Philadelphia having one of the highest murder rates in the nation something that affects our home and our hearts, real change can’t begin.

The city of Philadelphia belongs to those who live, breathe, work, dine, and play in it.  It belongs to a rich heritage of family importance, small business owners, hard workers, entertainment, and community.  Until we, Philadelphia, realize that this is OUR city, OUR community, and OUR cause, we will continue in this downward spiral of hopelessness.  So I charge you to be counted in the number that bleeds for our city, by committing to be a part of social change and awareness to stop these numbers from increasing.  Before it hits your street, your family, make it about your community.  It takes a village – and when your village and my village come together, we can change the culture of our city: together!

Kristen N. Wilson, Development Assistant

Art Imitates Life… and Death

Shiny pennies.  Doggie doo.  Open manholes.
Now there’s a fourth reason to look down when walking in the city!
Photo courtesy of American Casualities FB Page
On May 18, local artist Peter Quinn began creating a powerful art installation on JFK Boulevard between 20th & 30th Streets titled “American Casualties: A Drawing.”  More than 12,000 people will lie down on the street while someone draws chalk outlines around them to symbolize the more than 12,000 gun deaths reported nationally in 2012.  Quinn said he thinks it is difficult for people to envision just how many lives that is until they see it visually spanning a 50-foot wide, eight-block long section of Center City.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is also a supporter of the project.  He recently cited the importance of the piece on The Voice of Reason with Larry Kane (The Comcast Network) because it is imperative that everyone do whatever he or she can to reduce murders in the city – 85% of which are committed with guns.
“This art – in the most visible and graphic way – will have an impact on folks in Philadelphia regardless of their race or their neighborhood because all of this violence rips out the heart and soul of the city and affects all of us whether it’s around the corner or halfway across the city,” said Mayor Nutter.
Mr. Kane reported that one bright spot seems to be a downward trend in gun violence reflected in the nearly 20-year span from 1993 to 2011 in which the Bureau of Justice found gun killings decreased nationally by 39% and other non-fatal gun crimes plunged 69%.
To find out more about Peter Quinn and his traffic-stopping artwork, please visit www.americancasualtiesdrawing.com.
 – Anthony Johnson, AVP Board Chair

AVP Executive Director, Julie Rausch, Recounts National Victim’s Rights Week in Philadelphia

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan established the third week in April as annual Victim’s Rights Week, as part of an expanding initiative to provide for victims of crime across our country. This tradition has continued for over twenty years, giving national and local recognition to the experiences of victims as well as to the individuals and organizations who work to support them in their time of need.


Friday, April 19, 2013, was a day filled with tension and sorrow as the nation turned its collective eye to  the tragic events in Boston. But that evening, hundreds of co-victims of homicide (family and friends of murder victims), victims of serious crime, and others in the Philadelphia community committed to the cause of victims services gathered together at the First Unitarian Church in Center City in Philadelphia’s 12th annual Candle Lighting tribute to the victims and survivors of crime in our city.

As Sam Daniels played the piano and softly sang, “My Living Shall Not Be in Vain,” they filed into the church. It was impossible not to be struck by the diversity of the group. Certainly all races and all ages were represented. Babies were carried at the breast of young girls next to women in their 80’s and 90’s. Some came alone; others in groups of 8 to 10. Most were dressed in dark colors and attire suitable for church, but others were in tank tops and flip flops. Many Muslim women wore hijab scarves and some full burqas. Some in attendance wore t-shirts bearing the pictures of a slain loved one; others held pictures; one family even brought a poster board filled with images of their lost son. But they all sat shoulder to shoulder in rows as the church filled to capacity, blending into one large community feeling pain, but also hope.

Myra Maxwell, AVP’s Director of Victim Services, welcomed the group, referencing not only the tragedy in Boston, but previous events that have evoked our nation’s horror: Oklahoma City and Sandy Hook, place names that have become synonymous with grief and shock. Three victims addressed the group, speaking eloquently of the impact violent crime had on them and their families:

  • William Spratley, whose young, college-student daughter (who had given birth only one month previously) was slaughtered by her boyfriend/baby’s father and dumped in the closet of her apartment;
  • Remedios Guzman, a victim of sexual abuse starting at age 4 in Mexico, who shared her pain through an interpreter;
  • Movita Johnson, who moved from the city in an unsuccessful attempt to keep her children safe and spoke of the murder of her  18 year old son while holding her three year old grandson who was born 29 days after his father’s death.

As people collected themselves after sharing the pain of those three brave speakers, the time came for them to acknowledge and remember their lost loved ones. Everyone in attendance was given the opportunity when arriving to write down their loved one’s name and some special memory.

While the last of the day’s light shined through a beautiful stained glass window of an angel with outstretched arms and the comforting words, “Blessed are the Pure in Heart for They Shall See God,” the roll call began. Tearful but strong, the words of the attendees were called out; many were there representing multiple victims. They might have looked very differently but their messages were amazingly similar: “We love you. We miss you. Stop the violence. Get the guns off the streets.” As each person’s message was read, they lit a candle and received a flower.

By the end of the ceremony, the disparate individuals had become one community, brought together by tragedy but bolstered by the comforting presence of so many people who had shared their experience. As US Attorney Zane David Memeger stated in his opening remarks, the goal of the memorial was twofold: to gather together in the belief that victims of crime and their families should not be forgotten and to acknowledge the need to work together to prevent future tragedies through improving education, jobs, housing, parenting, and building character and respect in young people.

As the specter of terroristic violence in Boston, combined with community violence in our own city, remains in front of us, we all should be inspired by the strength and resilience shown by the survivors and commit ourselves with renewed vigor to preventing future tragedies.

– Julie Rausch, Executive Director