State Senators pushing to increase requirements for PA Advocate

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Members of the Pennsylvania Senate are pushing for the qualifications of the state Victim Advocate to include a law degree.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said it’s important to consider going forward.

“This is not about the person who is currently holding the position,” Corman said. “Most of the victims at some point will be in court, and may need legal guidance.”

Jennifer Storm is the current PA Victim Advocate, and she says a law degree is unneeded.

“The victim advocate is a navigator of the justice system,” she said. “We don’t give legal advice and we don’t legally represent victims.”

Some Republican lawmakers criticized Storm for her support to change the statute of limitations during the clergy child sex abuse scandal, while some Democrats were upset she didn’t support a bill that would give convicted murderers eligibility for parole, after serving 15 years.

Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) didn’t speak highly of Storm during a recent session. “The current occupant of the office does not always speak for victims,” he criticized.

Storm says there are many complex issues on the table, and it is tough to be in agreement with everyone on every issue.

“People want you to be in one camp or another,” Storm said. “I can’t be in camps, I have to be independent.”

She says she expects to have her confirmation hearing in November, and if she does not get the votes needed, Governor Wolf can still keep her in the same capacity, by giving her “acting” status again.

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