Amending the Pennsylvania PFA LAW
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“Pennsylvania law defines domestic abuse as knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury of any kind, causing fear of bodily injury of any kind, assault (sexual or not sexual), rape, sexually abusing minor children, or knowingly engaging in a repetitive conduct toward a certain person (i.e. stalking) that puts them in fear of bodily injury. These acts can take place between family or household members, sexual partners or those who share biological parenthood in order to qualify as domestic abuse”. (http://statelaws.findlaw.com/pennsylvania-law/pennsylvania-domestic-violence-laws.html
It is imperative to know that domestic violence involves more than just a physical act where one is left bruised or with broken bones. The domestic violence begins with ongoing verbal abuse and emotional abuse which sometimes lead to violence. Of course, recognizing both verbal and emotional abuse can be challenging as a result of it being done behind closed door. We do not see the intimidation, manipulation and the criticism that victims face (Evans, P. The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond, Adams Medium Corporation 1996).
It is important that the justice system understands that victims of domestic violence need to be protected not just from physical abuse but also from verbal and emotional abuse. The PFA needs to include verbal abuse, emotional/mental abuse, isolation, intimidation, financial burden, power and control over one’s life. How much more should victims face with the batterers before something tragically happens?
I would like to strongly encourage the government to look in to implementing a new law regarding domestic violence to include verbal and emotional abuse. Victims need to be protected. The Pennsylvania Justice System will need to conduct conferences on outlining the different steps needed to protect victims.
There needs to be a system put in place so that victims are no longer being neglected by the system. The justice system needs to work on accepting the victims’ statement so that she can get the appropriate support that she needs from service providers.
The justice system needs to work on not talking the victims out of filing for PFA. People continue to be victimized although experiencing a low-level intensity of domestic violence which acts as a barrier to receiving adequate or timely services.
This change will help the victims to have the right to be protected regardless of being physically abused. Victims will no longer have to be afraid to get assistance.
Please support the victims of domestic violence by amending the Pennsylvania PFA law!
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