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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.


Thursday, October 16, 2014, the Pennsylvania senate unanimously passed House Bill 1796 after removing a problematic amendment having nothing to do with housing. The legislature sent the bill to the Governor for approval. Advocates from across the Commonwealth urged the senate to stand up for victims of domestic violence and pass this important housing protection.

A victim of a crime should never be punished for seeking help from those who are charged to serve and protect. In response to your advocacy, your senators showed that they agree! Please click here to thank your senator for supporting victims of domestic violence by voting "YES" to House Bill 1796. Please also give your senator a call and thank them for their support. You can find your senator's number by clicking here and you can access the roll call for the final vote here.

House Bill 1796, sponsored by Representative Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), prohibits local nuisance ordinances from penalizing tenants for calling police to respond to domestic violence and other emergencies. Victims should not be forced to make the impossible choice between stable housing and police protection. The case of Briggs v Borough of Norristown illustrates the harsh options with which victims are faced. Ms. Briggs, the plaintiff in the case, was repeatedly attacked by her abuser, but each time refrained from calling the police because she feared that calling for help would result in her eviction due to a nuisance ordinance. Ms. Briggs' fears came true after a particularly brutal attack in which her ex-boyfriend slashed her throat with broken glass. After the attack, a neighbor called for emergency assistance. Ms. Briggs was airlifted to the hospital, and shortly thereafter the city forced her landlord to institute eviction proceedings. With the passage of House Bill 1796, such policies will be eliminated.

Contact Abigail Hurst, PCADV Policy Specialist, at ahurst@pcadv.org or 717-545-6400 x157 for more information.

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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