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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 29, 2020 10:29 AM
From: Representative Kate A. Klunk
To: All House members
Subject: Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Training for Police Officers
In the very near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will amend Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to require minimum standards for training police officers in responding to domestic violence calls. The training will include standards for assessing the lethality risk of domestic violence incidents.

Lethality assessment is a highly effective method for law enforcement to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partners. The program asks eleven questions, which can indicate an increased risk for homicide. If there is an elevated risk, the responding officer states that he/she is going to place a call to the local 24-hour domestic violence hotline to seek advice and to encourage the victim to speak with the specially trained hotline advocate.

This legislation will be known as Laurie and Barbara’s law and is being introduced in memory of Laurie Kuykendall and Barbara Schrum. Laurie and Barbara were killed in a domestic violence incident on May 29, 2015 by Laurie’s estranged husband when the two attempted to retrieve belongings from Laurie’s York County home. Since this tragic incident, Laurie and Barbara’s families have been strong advocates for the use of lethality risk assessments in domestic violence situations.

In light of the many recent tragic deaths of police officers responding to domestic violence calls, it is imperative that officers are equipped with the training they need to properly respond to and cut down on reported domestic violence calls.

I encourage you to consider co-sponsoring this important legislation that will not only save lives of domestic violence victims, but will also help to save the lives of our police officers.

This bill was previously introduced last session as HB 175 and passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote.  If you have any comments, questions or concerns regarding this legislation, please contact Joani Harlan at jharlan@pahousegop.com.

Thank you.

Introduced as HB1767