Public Policy

Laws and public policy can have a profound effect on society and on crime victims. Some of NOVA’s responsibilities as a nonprofit in service to the community include learning about legislation, evaluating how it will affect victims and helping to amplify victims’ voices so that their concerns and needs are included when legislative and policy decisions are made. In keeping with NOVA’s mission, staff members and volunteers advocate for changes in public policy and legislation at the federal, state and local level to ensure that victims’ rights and needs are protected and that laws and systems that help to prevent and eliminate violence are improved.

NOVA Public Affairs Committee

NOVA’s Public Affairs Committee is made up of NOVA Board members, staff and community volunteers and works to:

  1. Identify, monitor and advocate for specific legislation related to victims’ rights and services, including funding initiatives.
  2. Communicate regularly with elected officials to educate them about the impact of legislation on victims’ rights.
  3. Collaborate with partners at the local, state and national levels to support policy initiatives and leverage advocacy opportunities.
  4. Alert and educate NOVA board, staff, volunteers and supporters and local community regarding advocacy opportunities and key funding issues.
  5. Provide testimony on policy and legislation.

Adding your voice is an important way that you can work to support victims. You can make sure that your elected officials know that you are interested in laws that affect victims and that you support the work of crime victim agencies like NOVA. Read more to find out about current legislation and policy activities so that you can connect with your elected official and share your knowledge with family, friends and other community partners. Together we can all work to support victims of crime and help make the community safer.

If you are interested in working on public affairs issues, please contact Julie Dugery, Coordinator of Volunteers and Community Outreach at 215-343-6543 ext. 6604 or by email at julieD@novabucks.org.

You can find your legislator here

Pennsylvania Legislation 2019

Here is a link to legislation that NOVA is monitoring in the 2017-18 Session.

NOVA advocates that the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse be eliminated in both civil and criminal cases. The Pennsylvania legislature has proposed a host of bills to do so. Many other states have already eliminated statutes of limitations. Numerous grand jury reports have supported these changes as well as a one time, time-limited window of two years allowing victims whose right to sue in civil court has passed, an opportunity to pursue a civil action.

It is expected that members of the Pennsylvania legislature will propose new legislation relating to the statute of limitations in the 2018 session.

Click here to learn why this legislation is so important and why many child victims often report years later.

Consistent with our mission to prevent and eliminate violence in society, NOVA supports legislation, public policies and education efforts that promote gun safety, and reduce the incidence of gun related homicides, injuries, suicides and accidental deaths.

Revised Statement adopted by the NOVA Board of Directors, November 15, 2016

Background: In the aftermath of Sandy Hook and other mass shootings in 2012, the issue of gun violence was once again in the spotlight in Pennsylvania and across the country. The Pennsylvania Senate passed Resolution 6, which established a Task Force on the Prevention of Violence and in December 2013 a report was issued identifying many recommendations, including those related to guns and gun ownership. The NOVA Public Affairs Committee explored recommendations that aligned with NOVA’s mission. Since 2015, NOVA has identified a number of critical areas where pending legislation and public policies may help to reduce the effects of gun violence. With countless mass shootings in Oregon, San Bernardino, Charleston, Orlando, Pittsburgh and Thousand Oaks, as well as reports of gun-related homicides and accidental shootings of children in Pennsylvania, it is with greater urgency that we are required to act. The NOVA Board of Directors has charged the board’s Public Affairs Committee to review and strengthen the organization’s policy statement on Violence and Firearms Safety. Going forward, through the work of the Public Affairs Committee, NOVA will advocate to enact legislation, educate the community and explore other legislative and policy options in an effort to prevent and eliminate violence in society.

Pending Legislative Initiatives and Public Policy Considerations on Violence and Firearms Safety and Regulation

  • Child Access Prevention – aimed at protecting children from accidental death or injury by requiring gun owners to lock weapons when a child is present in the home
  • Require reporting of lost and stolen guns
  • Strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence in protection from abuse orders by requiring abusers to turn in their guns within 24 hours, thereby eliminating the third-party safekeeping provision and ensuring that surrender is made to the sheriff’s office
  • Require background checks for the purchase of long guns from private sellers
  • Prohibit juveniles who commit a crime with a gun from buying a gun as an adult
  • Prohibit persons with involuntary mental health commitments from purchasing a firearm through prompt reporting to National Firearms Background Check System (NICS).

NOVA Partners

NOVA informs the community’s awareness of policy perspectives and advocacy activities through collaboration with a number of partner agencies and advocacy groups. Click on the link to learn more about NOVA’s partners.

Center for Children’s Justice (C4CJ)

Crime Victims Alliance of Pennsylvania (CVAP)

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)

Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate

Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition (BCWAC)