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06/25/2024 03:54 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=13867
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 8, 2014 11:43 AM
From: Representative Brendan F. Boyle
To: All House members
Subject: Domestic Violence Bill Package
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce a package of legislation to address deficiencies regarding current laws protecting victims from domestic violence. Domestic violence is a serious problem in society that claims victims from all social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. After meeting with survivors, advocates, law enforcement and legal experts, I believe that the following proposals will help ensure these victims get the protection they deserve.



Document #1

Introduced as HB1974

Description: The first of my proposals would amend Title 53 (Municipalities) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to require a minimum of four hours of training annually in the area of domestic violence for local police officers.  I believe we must ensure that victims of domestic violence have the maximum protection from abuse that Pennsylvania law enforcement can provide.  In order to meet this goal, it is essential that local police officers receive ongoing education and training in the most appropriate ways to handle these types of situations. Additionally, law enforcement officers must have access to any and all information and resources as they navigate the complex and volatile dynamics which are so often present in such incidents.  
 

Document #2

Introduced as HB1975

Description: Similarly, the second proposal would amend the Administrative Code (Act 175 of 1929) to require a minimum of four hours of training annually in the area of domestic violence for state police officers.  Again, I believe we must ensure that victims of domestic violence have the maximum protection from abuse that Pennsylvania law enforcement can provide.  In order to meet this goal, it is essential that state police officers receive ongoing education and training in the most appropriate ways to handle these types of situations. Additionally, law enforcement officers must have access to any and all information and resources as they navigate the complex and volatile dynamics which are so often present in such incidents.  
 

Document #3

Introduced as HB1976

Description: This piece of legislation would amend Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes by creating § 9778 (GPS electronic monitoring devices).  The purpose of this proposal is to give our criminal justice system a powerful tool to help maintain law and order in the Commonwealth.  Current law does not provide for the use of GPS electronic monitoring devices.  This legislation will give courts the option of mandating a device be placed on an individual if they are found to be in violation of the terms of their parole or the terms of a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA).  The cost of the device will be born solely by the individual, not the Commonwealth.  This provides the court with a low-cost alternative to imprisonment that helps protect all affected parties. 
 

Document #4

Introduced as HB1977

Description: My fourth piece of legislation would amend Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to provide for alternative service options for protection from abuse (PFA) orders.  Current law provides for the court to adopt a means of prompt and effective service in those instances where the plaintiff avers that they feel unsafe and are not able to personally serve the defendant.  However, the current law does not enumerate specific measures the court is permitted to take.  My legislation would permit the court to order the service of the PFA petition and final order via certified mail.  In addition, when a defendant’s address is unknown to the plaintiff or the court, public notice of the defendant’s name and next court date may be published in a newspaper of general circulation.
 

Document #5

Introduced as HB1978

Description: This fifth piece of legislation would amend Title 23 (Domestic Relations), § 6112 (Disclosure of Addresses), of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes for the purpose of expanding upon court disclosure prohibitions of personal information for Protection from Abuse Orders (PFA’s).  Under current law, courts have the option to discern whether a defendant poses a threat of continued danger to the plaintiff and subsequently issue an order not to disclose a plaintiff’s address, telephone number, and whereabouts to law enforcement, human services agencies, and school districts.  In addition, a court or hearing officer may not require disclosure of the address of a domestic violence program in the pleadings or during proceedings.  However, my proposal takes disclosure prohibitions of personal information a step further.  Specifically, my legislation would prohibit the court or hearing officer from disclosing a social security number of a plaintiff, a plaintiff’s family member, a defendant, or a defendant’s family member during the course of a PFA order proceeding. 

Additionally, while my proposal protects plaintiffs, it also provides protection for defendants.  In order to prevent further abuse, as sometimes an abuser counter-files his or her own PFA against a victim, the court has the option of discerning whether the plaintiff poses a threat of continued danger to the defendant. If the court determines there is a threat, the court may enter an order directing law enforcement, human services agencies, and school districts not to disclose the defendant’s address, telephone number, and whereabouts.  As public officials, I believe it is our duty to help protect personal information during the course of domestic violence proceedings. 
 
It is my sincere hope that you will join me as a co-sponsor for these critical pieces of legislation and help support victims of domestic abuse.