In 1981, the Community Safety Program of Northwest Interfaith Movement began as the first community-based victim services program in Philadelphia. The Community Safety Program became an independent nonprofit organization incorporated under the name of Northwest Victim Services (NVS) in 1986. Six additional community-based victim service agencies in Philadelphia have modeled their organizations after NVS and all of these programs have relied on NVS for technical assistance and expertise. During its first year as an independent agency, NVS provided service to 800 crime victims in the 14th police district. The number of victims served, as well as the type of services provided, have grown over the last 30 years. Services provided include crisis/supportive counseling, court accompaniment, financial assistance, and information/referral. In addition to providing services to crime victims, NVS provides community programs to increase safety and knowledge of NVS services. NVS works closely with local/citywide community groups and agencies including the District Attorney’s Office, police, and other government and social services agencies NVS also plays an active role in the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy and several state and local community task forces.

Introducing the NVS team

La’Nita Harris

La’Nita Harris

Manager - Direct Services and Trauma Care Coordination


Wynter Downing

Youth Engagement Coordinator/ Office Assistant

Rysheda Elliott

Rysheda Elliott

Victim Advocate and Peer Support Specialist

Northwest Victim Services

Rachael Reyes-Vazquez

Court/Victim Advocate (Spanish Speaking)

Melany P. Nelson

Melany P. Nelson - MAED/AET

Executive Director

Mission of NVS

To provide prompt, effective, holistic services to all victims of crime in Northwest Philadelphia while increasing strategies to elevate community safety.


To alter the way we treat victims of crime in Northwest Philadelphia.


To alter the way we treat victims of crime in Northwest Philadelphia.

Northwest Victim Services values six principles when aiding victims of crimes and the Northwest community.  These principles are Community, Empathy, Dignity, Reliability, Competence, and Confidentiality.

We practice each of these values in the following ways:

Community:  We strive to meet the needs of the individuals and the communities we serve.  We foster and utilize the community's support as partners to aid crime victims and reduce crime. Our Board and staff reflect the communities we serve.

Empathy:  We work alongside crime victims as empathetic allies.

Dignity: We empower clients to advocate for themselves, treating them as individuals and providing them with choices that reflect their individual needs.

Reliability:  We are present for clients and responsive to their needs, including providing information and resources to address questions if we do not have the answers.  We support staff so that they can reliably support clients.

Competence: We are trained professionals knowledgeable in the best practices in our field. We are a learning organization continuously seeking to improve our knowledge and skills to serve our clients and the community better.

Confidentiality:  We honor and uphold the importance of preserving client confidentiality.

Board of Directors

NVS Board of Directors

Cristsandra Penn, President
Patricia A. Payne, Secretary
Kevin E. Raphael, Esq., Treasurer
Patrice Fisher
Robert Coombe
Hon. Lori Dumas
Pedro Rodriquez
Mark Moore, Esq.
Tanya De’Voue Black

NVS Advisory Board


Dr. Joann Cozza
Derrick J.V. Sawyer
Nick Taliferro

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