Victim Services

Victim Services

Any Penn State student, employee, or guest of the University who has been the victim of, or witness to, a crime is eligible for victim services. These services typically include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Consultation about problem situation, incident or crime
  • Exploring options available for solving problem
  • Crisis intervention and ongoing support
  • Information and referral
  • Explanation of court and legal procedures
  • Assistance in preparing for, and accompaniment to, hearings and court appearances
  • Accompaniment during police interviews
  • Notification to instructors of time missed from class due to criminal incident

You are encouraged to contact the Victim/Witness Advocate at 814-865-1864 during regular business hours to discuss your situation or to arrange for an appointment. It is the advocate's goal to see that you are treated with consideration, respect, and sensitivity in all your interactions with the legal system. Contacting the Victim/Witness Advocate does not mean that you are obligated to file a police report. Our aim is to provide you with the necessary information and support to enable you to make the best choices available.

The Impact of Crime

Most people experience a range of emotions including shock, disbelief, anger, self-blame, and fear when they have been victimized, either by a stranger or, more frequently, by someone they know. It is important for you to know that what happened is not your fault and that help is available. Because each situation is unique, the Victim/Witness Advocate will listen to your concerns, answer your questions and assist you in understanding what options are available to best meet your needs.

Definitions of Common Crimes

Harassment: A person commits this offense by intending to harass, annoy, or alarm another person by striking, shoving, kicking that person, following a person in or about a public place or engaging in a course of conduct which alarms or annoys another person and which serves no legitimate purpose. This can also include making a telephone call or sending an email without the intent of legitimate communication, anonymously telephoning another person repeatedly, using vulgar and indecent language, or phoning at extremely inconvenient hours.

Simple Assault: A person commits this offense by causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to another.

Terroristic Threats: A person commits this offense by threatening to commit any crime of violence with the intent to terrorize another.

Sexual Assault: A person commits this offense by engaging in sexual intercourse without the other person's consent.

Rape: A person commits this offense by engaging in sexual intercourse with another person by the use of force, or the threat of force.

How to Help a Friend

If someone you know has been the victim of a crime—whether it's rape, burglary, harassment, or even a stolen wallet—being victimized is traumatic and devastating. Victims need special support and caring from their friends.

Be willing to listen without judging or giving advice. Be supportive. Avoid blaming the victim. It's never the victim's fault. Don't tell the victim how or how not to feel. It's normal for victims to experience a variety of emotions. Encourage action. Suggest contacting the victim/witness advocate, the police, or a counselor, and/or seeking medical attention if needed. Be patient and understanding. There is no timetable for recovery.


(Use entrance to University Police)


Email the Victim / Witness Advocate Pam Gerber at

Safety Tips

  • Don't walk alone at night. Find a friend or classmate or call the the Escort Service at 610-892-1496 for a safe trip to your car.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption. Being intoxicated makes you vulnerable to all types of crime.
  • Walk confidently. Don't wear headphones while walking or jogging.
  • Avoid being in a vulnerable situation with someone you don't know.
  • Always trust your instincts.