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Advocates send clear message: It’s time to end sexual assault & domestic violence

Advocacy Day 250 Advocates send clear message: It’s time to end sexual assault & domestic violence

Domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and awareness advocates gathered at the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg on Monday for Advocacy Day 2017, speaking with legislators about key legislation to help survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence and providing information to the public about ways we can work to end domestic violence and sexual assault in our communities.

The annual rally organized by PCADV and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) happens in April in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s speakers included Delilah Rumburg, Chief Executive Officer of PCAR, State Rep. Rosemary Brown (R-119), Millersville University Police Chief Peter Anders, State Sen. Tom Killion (R-9), and Ellen Kramer, Deputy Director, Program Services, PCADV.

“We all have a role to play in ending this public health epidemic,” said Ellen Kramer, Deputy Director for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). “From fully funding domestic violence and rape crisis centers to enacting legislation that holds offenders accountable, to promoting a culture of civic engagement, respect, and safety.”

As part of Advocacy Day, the House passed a resolution, introduced by Rep. Rosemary Brown, designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The action conveyed the message that it’s time to bring even more awareness to preventive efforts to stop sexual assault. There are 50 rape crisis centers in Pennsylvania and serve more than 30,000 victims each year. There are also 60 domestic violence centers that serve nearly 90,000 victims yearly.

PCADV announces open recruiting for new executive director

In mid-January, following the retirement of Peg Dierkers—who had been at the helm of the organization since 2008 — the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), welcomed Caroline E. Boyce, CAE, as interim executive director. Boyce is leading the coalition for six to nine months while a search for a permanent executive director is underway.

Concurrently, the PCADV Board of Directors has been working closely with executive recruiting firm, Raffa, which they engaged to lead the search process for a permanent executive director. Raffa is pleased to announce the open recruiting process for an exceptional leader who is committed to social justice and has a passion for serving the needs of victims of domestic violence. Interested and qualified candidates should review the position description and application process.

Lawmakers introduce legislation to strengthen PFA Act, enhance victim and community safety

MAP_Facebook_sml 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.

The measure:

• 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

2016 Fatality Report photo_250.jpeg 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.

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