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Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Public Policy Action

Public Policy

Law and policy play an essential role in society’s response to domestic violence. Likewise, it is essential for those who care about ending domestic violence to let their lawmakers know their views and help improve the systemic response to domestic violence.

Advocacy Day 2016 at the Pennsylvania Capitol

PegAdvocacyDay2016_img_04112016 Advocacy Day 2016 at the Pennsylvania Capitol

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape organized an Advocacy Day on April 11, 2016 at the East Wing Rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg. More than 100 advocates attended the event representing 29 domestic violence and rape crisis programs serving 35 counties. Advocates from across the Commonwealth visited their legislators to hand-deliver NO MORE donuts covered in teal icing. The color and shape of the donut represents the teal “O” in the national NO MORE campaign. The boxes that carried the donuts held a message for state legislators calling on them to fully fund domestic violence and sexual assault services.

Advocates also highlighted the following legislative priorities:

Protect a woman’s access to health care options, including abortion care services: Victims of domestic violence should have the opportunities to live their lives free from violence and reproductive coercion. Oppose House Bill 1948 that would restrict a woman’s access to abortion care services in an extreme and harmful way. The House of Representatives was expected to vote on the bill on Advocacy Day (April 11) that would be the most extreme restriction on abortion in this country. Advocates asked their representatives to vote "NO" to House Bill 1948. The bill has not received a vote on the House floor.

Prevent domestic violence homicides: Pennsylvania laws make it too easy for abusers to access guns. Even though abusers are legally prohibited from having guns. Senate Bill 1182 will keep communities safer by requiring all convicted abusers and defendants subject to active final PFAs to surrender their guns promptly and safely. Senate Bill 1182 will soon be introduced by Sen. Pat Vance (R-Cumberland & York) and additional co-sponsors of the bill are needed. Advocates asked their senators to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor.

Hold offenders accountable for strangulation: Non-lethal strangulation is a common and dangerous means of assault in domestic violence cases. Strangulation is a known risk factor for homicide; research shows the odds of becoming a homicide victim increased by 800% for women who had been strangled by their partner. House Bill 1581, sponsored by Rep. Becky Corbin (R-Chester), would establish a felony crime of strangulation with enhanced penalties for repeat offenders and awaits consideration in the senate. Advocates asked their senators to vote "YES" to House Bill 1581.

Fully fund domestic violence services: Modest increases over recent years have allowed domestic violence centers to initiate filling the gaps in lifesaving services. However, just last year 6,585 victims were turned away due to inadequate funding. FY 2016-2017 requires investment to adequately fund domestic violence core services, support for child witnesses, and pro-bono civil legal representation. Members of the General Assembly are beginning to craft a state budget proposal that should make the safety of our communities a priority. Advocates asked all elected officials to fully fund domestic violence services.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

PCADV works diligently to make sure that legislators understand the needs of domestic violence victims and the programs that serve them, and we encourage you to join us in our public policy work.

We invite you to contact our policy specialist, Abigail Hurst, at ahurst@pcadv.org to discuss domestic violence budget and policy matters. Please contact your legislators to let them know your views on public policy and funding decisions.

The policy issues that affect domestic violence victims and programs are very far-reaching—from criminal law, to economic justice, to public funding for shelters and programs. The PCADV Policy Agenda details our current policy priorities, which include three primary areas:
• Homicide Prevention
• Children
• Housing
as well as several other issues important to victims’ lives.

Because the need for funding affects all other aspects of domestic violence services, funding advocacy at both the state and federal level is a constant priority. We encourage you to talk with your legislators about how important it is to fund these life-saving services. To learn more about the budget process and how you can help shape funding decisions, please read Overview of the Budget Process – State and Federal

Contacting your legislators is a powerful way for you to be a part of the movement to end domestic violence. Your voice is crucial!

Speak Up About Domestic Violence.

By reaching out and making your views known to your legislators, you can help shape laws and get the funds necessary for victims to access the services they need.

Your voice is crucial!

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