To the editor: We lost a great statesman and an extraordinary champion for victims' rights with the death of former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

Mr. Specter leaves behind a remarkable legacy of leadership and accomplishments on behalf of the vulnerable and violated in this commonwealth and across the country.

The senator was instrumental in the passage of the Victims of Crime Act that uses fines imposed on federal offenders to provide compensation and funding for services to crime victims. He led efforts to create a significant and steady source of funding to domestic violence programs through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. He played a key role in establishing funding for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), operated by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) for 18 years until it became an independent organization in 2012.

Sen. Specter co-sponsored the landmark Violence Against Women Act and tirelessly advocated during the law's unpredictable and, at times, perilous journey through Congress for its initial passage and subsequent reauthorizations.

Time and again, Sen. Specter fought to retain the intent and integrity of these critical laws and programs that offer the promise of hope and justice to victims and their families as they cope with trauma in the aftermath of crime.

His legacy of leadership will continue to be reflected in the work that goes on every day in our communities to make homes, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces safer.

PCADV and NRCDV will long remember and miss Arlen Specter.

Peg Dierkers

Executive director

PCADV

Anne Menard

Executive director

NRCDV