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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 19, 2018 05:52 PM
From: Senator Bob Mensch
To: All Senate members
Subject: Creating an Offense for Domestic Violence in Front of Children
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending the Crimes Code to create an offense for an act of domestic violence in front of children.

This legislation came about through the joint efforts of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and Cabrini College’s Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education.

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 lack of empathy. The long-term consequences are similarly troubling. Additionally, when these affected children grow up they are more likely to engage in dangerous behavior and are more likely to be caught up in a vicious cycle of abuse; they become an abuser or an abused person themselves.

Data suggests that children often witness domestic violence. One study found that half of domestic violence crimes were committed in the presence of at least one child. The data is clear that when a perpetrator commits an act of violence in front of a child, there is more than one victim – the child suffers many of the same consequences as if he or she had been the direct victim. Our Crimes Code should recognize this painful reality by making it a separate crime.

I ask that you please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Please contact Mark Fetzko of my office if you have any questions or concerns related to this information.

Introduced as SB1092