Lawmakers introduce legislation to strengthen PFA Act, enhance victim and community safety
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence applauds the efforts of state senators who have recently introduced legislation that will strengthen the Commonwealth’s Protection from Abuse Act and enhance victim and community safety.
The statewide coalition worked closely with Sen. Tom Killion, R-Glen Mills, to draft Senate Bill 501 – the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Bill – which will go a long way to protect victims of domestic violence, their children, the community, and law enforcement.
• Requires convicted abusers/defendants subject to active PFAs to promptly surrender firearms and other weapons.
• Makes it more difficult for abusers to access weapons once they have been turned in by ensuring those weapons were turned over to law enforcement or licensed firearms dealers.
• Requires abusers subject to lifetime gun prohibition to relinquish firearms within 24 hours following a conviction for specified domestic violence crimes.
• Ensures that defendants are notified of their right to show evidence, be represented by an attorney and have witnesses provide testimony at hearings.
• Includes a provision to clarify under what circumstances a defendant can be evicted from the victim’s residence or household.
• Includes a provision that will give the defendant, upon request, a 96-hour continuance to adequately prepare for a final order hearing.
In drafting the legislation, PCADV worked closely with allies and stakeholder groups to ensure a collaborative approach toward a stronger PFA Act that emphasizes victim and community safety.
Three other companion bills were also introduced: Senate Bill 500 (Service of PFA Orders), Sen. Randy Vulakovich; Senate Bill 502 (Extension of PFA Orders), Sen. Tom McGarrigle; and Senate Bill 449 (Tierne’s Law – Risk Assessments), Sen. Camera Bartolotta. The package of legislation was devised after considering the recommendations of the bi-partisan Joint State Government Commission’s staff study on PFAs in Pennsylvania. It aligns with PCADV’s mission of improving the safety of domestic violence victims and the community as a whole.
2016 Fatality Report: 102 victims
One-hundred and two people were killed last year in domestic violence incidents in Pennsylvania, and 56 percent of the victims were shot, according to the 2106 Fatality Report released today by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
For the sixth straight year, firearms accounted for more than half of all fatalities. There were 56 female victims and 46 male victims, and 37 perpetrator deaths, according to the report. In addition, two police officers died responding to domestic violence incidents.
In the last ten years, more than 1,600 people have died in domestic violence-related incidents in Pennsylvania.
The annual report is compiled through news accounts, police reports, and information received from our 60 community-based programs serving all 67 counties. Included are killings based on the definition of domestic violence in the Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act.
The report does not include unsolved cases, cases where no arrests were made, and child abuse and neglect cases, which are reported to the Department of Human Services.
- Read the full report274.17 K | 3/15/2017
PCADV staff wears orange to promote healthy relationships
Staff at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) is departing from traditional Valentine’s Day colors to show support for healthy relationships during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
February 14 has been identified as Wear Orange Day to promote healthy dating relationships and take a stand against dating violence.
The issue of teen dating violence is far too common in America. According to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), one in three teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped or physically hurt by a partner.
“We know our teens and preteens are dating and, as adults, it is important we talk to our kids about healthy relationships so they can better identify when they might be in an unhealthy or harmful relationship,” PCADV Prevention Manager Kristen Herman said. “It’s also important to serve as positive role models. A national survey of youth found that more than half of dating violence victims and statutory rape/sexual misconduct victims had witnessed intimate partner violence.”
PCADV Announces Interim Executive Director
In mid-January, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence welcomed Caroline E. Boyce, CAE, as interim executive director. Boyce will lead the coalition for a period of six to nine months while a search for a permanent executive director is underway.
Boyce is a nationally recognized strategic thinker who provides support and guidance to non-profit organizations, trade associations and professional societies going through transitions such as leadership change, and organizational or operational restructuring. With more than 20 years of experience in non-profit governance, financial, and program management, she works collaboratively with the board and staff during times of transition to position an organization for sustained success.
While Boyce is at the helm of PCADV during this transitional period, she will focus on analysis and refinement of the Coalition’s internal processes and procedures, preparing the organization for a seamless transition to leadership under a permanent executive director. External-facing roles and responsibilities have been assumed by PCADV’s staff team of directors. The PCADV board of directors has engaged executive recruiting firm Raffa to lead the search process for a permanent executive director.
Marching Together to Support Human Rights
Lydia Gonzalez won’t be able to vote for another five years, but that’s not stopping the 13-year-old from standing up for what she believes in and taking action to have her voice heard.
Lydia and her mom, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Coordinator Teresa Gonzalez, plan to be among the hundreds of thousands Saturday in our nation’s capital supporting human rights during the first-ever Women’s March on Washington.
“The results of this election basically knocked the wind out of our sails,” Teresa said. “My family felt hopeless and discouraged about the future of our country. We had to come to terms with facing opposition to all that we respect and value as human beings.”
“How do we pick up the pieces? How do we move forward?” These were questions the Gonzalez family had to grapple with, as did many others in our country.
The guiding principles of the march are that women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age, or disability. Organizers are hoping to follow Friday’s inauguration by making a strong statement of unity, “recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
- Read more472.79 K | 1/20/2017
PCADV Executive Director, Peg Dierkers to retire
Peg Dierkers retired as Executive Director on January 2nd. An interim executive director will be named soon.
Go to the Newsroom for more details.
Take the Pledge to Stop Domestic ViolencePCADV, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates are teaming up to stop gender violence. Check out our YouTube PSAs!
- Not use violence of any form in my relationships.
- Speak up if another man is abusing his partner or is disrespectful or abusive to women and girls. I will not remain silent.
- Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence.
- Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don¹t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. I will lead by example.
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