Following the fatal shooting of Pennsylvania State Trooper, Landon Weaver, at the end of last December, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence called for revisions in the state's laws and procedures governing protection from abuse orders. Although Trooper Weaver was shot, while investigating an alleged Protection from Abuse (PFA) order violation, reports indicate that there was not an active domestic violence situation, and the person who sought the PFA order was not actually at the residence.
Many types of disputes, such as child custody and property division, may be resolved through Pennsylvania mediation. Domestic violence, however, is not susceptible to this type of resolution.
Victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania, in additional to physical and emotional harm, may also face numerous financial hardships from being injured, missing work or having to leave their households. In some cases, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may be available to these victims.
In Pennsylvania, victims of domestic violence may be threatened with a weapon or subject to other physical abuse. A new law was approved in late October that addresses a common form of abuse against victims, helps close a legal loophole in prosecuting this abuse and provides additional enforcement tools to police.
Pennsylvania's Protection from Abuse Act allows domestic violence victims to seek a court order to help protect themselves and their children from a spouse, other family member or an intimate partner, who is committing abuse. However, each county has different procedures for seeking these protection from abuse (PFA) orders.
The risk of homelessness is one of the many pressures faced by victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania. They face the difficult choice between returning to the perpetrator or risking poverty or the loss of a home.
Stalking is known to endanger celebrities. More commonly, however, stalkers can also can cause domestic violence and frighten their former spouse or anyone that was involved in an intimate relationship with them. The victim's attempts to end a relationship with the offender often precipitates stalking.
Domestic violence victims in Pennsylvania do not have to suffer alone and without help. Resources and legal options are available to protect victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, one in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. A total of 1.3 million women are estimated to be victims of intimate partner violence each year. The majority of victims of domestic violence are women with women accounting for 73 percent of domestic violence victims, however, men can be victims of domestic violence as well.
Domestic violence can impact individuals from a number of different backgrounds and can have a significant effect on families. Restraining orders can offer protection in abuse situations and are a common method of protection when abuse in present in a relationship or family. In Pennsylvania, a restraining order is referred to as a protection from abuse order. A protection from abuse order orders an abusive party not to have contact with the victim of abuse.
Sadly, there are many Pennsylvania residents who have suffered because of domestic violence. Such violence can take many forms -- stalking, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse can all fall under the category of domestic violence. Sometimes, victims of this kind of violence may not know what their rights are. It can be extremely difficult to know how to respond following an act of domestic violence. Thankfully, there are resources available for victims of such abuse.