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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 10, 2020 10:23 AM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: New Crime - Domestic Violence Committed in the Presence of a Child
The data is clear that when a perpetrator commits an act of domestic violence and it occurs in front of a child, there is more than one victim. Innocent children who witness domestic violence suffer many of the same consequences as if he or she had been a direct victim of the domestic violence. Our Crimes Code should recognize this painful reality and designate this act of domestic violence in front of a child as a crime. I will be introducing legislation that makes domestic violence committed in front of child - a separate crime.

There is a devastating impact on children who witness domestic violence. The short-term consequences include increased anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, aggression, difficulty concentrating, social isolation, and a lack of empathy. The long-term consequences are similarly troubling. When these innocent children grow up, they are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors. They are also more likely to be caught up in a vicious cycle of abuse: they can become an abuser or remain an abused person themselves.

In our Commonwealth, we are lagging behind other states in regard to this legislation. Please join me in supporting protections for our children.

Introduced as HB2701