Harrisburg – State Senator Tom Killion (R-9) today introduced a resolution designating October 2018 as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. The Senate unanimously adopted Senate Resolution 441.
Domestic violence affects women and men of all racial, ethnic, religious, educational, social and economic backgrounds. For nearly five decades, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has worked to honor victims and survivors, celebrate advocates, and shine a light on intimate partner violence.
According to the Coalition, in 2017 there were 117 fatalities associated with domestic violence; and more than 15 million children are exposed to domestic violence each year.
“With the adoption of Senate Resolution 441, I am hopeful that all Pennsylvanians are encouraged to learn more about the causes, signs, prevention and intervention of domestic violence,” Killion said.
Killion offered the resolution on the Senate Floor today on behalf of the many victims and their families; and took the opportunity to recognize the Coalition for their ongoing commitment to these victims. The Coalition staff and volunteers at local domestic violence shelters, located in communities across the Commonwealth, provide shelter, legal assistance, counseling and children’s services to more than 90,000 victims per year; helping them find safety, obtain justice and build new lives free of abuse.
Senator Killion also referenced historic legislation that was recently approved by the General Assembly to provide additional protections for victims of domestic violence.
In March, the Senate unanimously approved a package of domestic violence bills, including landmark legislation sponsored by Senator Tom McGarrigle. Senate Bill 501, sponsored by Senator Killion, was among the bills approved in the Senate. This bill would require for the first time in Pennsylvania the relinquishment of all guns by individuals who are the subject of Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders. It also shortens the time defendants convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence must surrender their guns from 60 days for 48 hours, and prohibits third-party safekeeping by friends and family members. Senator McGarrigle’s legislation, Senate Bill 502, makes it easier for the court to extend a PFA order when an incarcerated abuser is released from custody. Specifically, it extends any existing protection order for 90 days after the defendant has been released from incarceration. In addition, under the measure, the victim will not be required to show that the defendant engaged in a new threatening act to gain this protection.
Last week, House Bill 2060 was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 131-62, and today, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 14-1. The bill is now before the full Senate for consideration.
“We hear the voices of victims and that we are going to use every means within our authority to protect them,” said Killion. “I look forward to ensuring this landmark legislation gets to the Governor’s desk.”