Seeking to strengthen and reform Pennsylvania’s domestic violence laws, Senators Tom Killion (R9) and Tom McGarrigle (R26) joined with a group of Pennsylvania senators today and unveiled four bills designed to offer greater protections to victims of domestic violence and their children. WATCH
Senators Tom Killion (R-9), Tom McGarrigle (R-26), Randy Vulakovich (R-38), and Camera Bartolotta (R-46) joined representative of law enforcement and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence at a news conference at the state capitol to outline the reform measures, which were developed with input from district attorneys, domestic violence experts and others who have an interest in improving the judicial system’s ability to protect victims. The bills were part of a coordinated effort to help more than 89,000 victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania.
“Every day, victims of domestic abuse are seeking protection from abusers. Yet, we continue to experience a senseless loss of life,” Killion said. “These bills are intended to strengthen our Protection from Abuse Act to provide greater safety for victims and their families.”
“A victim of abuse who is left with no recourse in this situation, is a victim who has not received justice. Providing the victim with extended PFA protection is a significant tool for victim safety and offender accountability,” added Senator McGarrigle.
Senator McGarrigle’s bill would allow the court extend the terms of an existing order or issue a new order in certain circumstances.
The group of senators were joined by members from the Pennsylvania Chiefs’ of Police Association and The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, both of whom expressed support for the package of bills.
The bills were part of a report issued by the Joint State Government Commission in November of 2016. The report was completed after the House of Representative passed House Resolution 735, which Senator Killion Co-sponsored when he was a member of the House of Representatives.
The legislation reflects recommendations of the bi-partisan Joint State Government Commission staff study on PFAs in Pennsylvania and is in alignment with PCADV’s priorities of improving the safety of victims and their children, and the community as a whole.
- Senate Bill 501 (Killion) enhancing safety for all parties involved in Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders and convictions of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence that require relinquishment of firearms. WATCH
- Senate Bill 500 (Vulakovich) providing that protection would be made available to a victim; and that an individual shall accompany the plaintiff to the plaintiff’s residence before or while the petition and orders are being served, if the plaintiff avers that such assistance is necessary to protect the safety of the plaintiff. WATCH
- Senate Bill 502 (McGarrigle) specifying that the court may extend the terms of an existing order or issue a new order in certain circumstances. WATCH
- Senate Bill 449 (Bartolotta) Tierne’s Law, clarifying that Magisterial District Judges may, in cases of domestic violence, use a risk assessment tool to determine whether a defendant poses a danger to a victim when determining bail. WATCH
CONTACT: Mike Stoll – Senator Killion (717) 787-4712
Mike Radar – Senator McGarrigle (717) 787-1305