Work­ing to strengthen pro­tec­tions for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rep. Ryan Macken­zie (R-Le­high/Berks)

Oc­to­ber is Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month, and on Oct. 3, the Penn­syl­va­nia House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­proved leg­is­la­tion that has been signed into law to strengthen pro­tec­tions for those who are vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

Un­der House Bill 2060, now Act 79 of 2018, those who are con­victed of a mis­de­meanor crime of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence will be re­quired to turn over their firearms to a sher­iff, or a third party, within 24 hours, in­stead of the pre­vi­ous re­quire­ment of 60 days.

In the case of a civil or­der, which en­tails a fi­nal, not tem­po­rary, pro­tec­tion from abuse (PFA) or­der, a judge will or­der the re­lin­quish­ment of firearms af­ter a hear­ing at which ev­i­dence is pre­sented and both par­ties have a chance to speak, thereby en­sur­ing that an in­di­vid­ual’s due process rights are ad­dressed. Firearms will be turned over to law en­force­ment, an of­fi­cer of the court, a li­censed firearms dealer or a com­mer­cial ar­mory — and not a fam­ily mem­ber or friend, which was pre­vi­ously al­lowed.

The new law will not im­pact any law-abid­ing cit­i­zens, only in­di­vid­u­als with a con­vic­tion of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or a fi­nal PFA or­der.

The adop­tion of this law is an im­por­tant step for­ward to bet­ter pro­tect vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

If you or some­one you know is be­ing im­pacted by do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, there are many re­sources avail­able where you can find help.

I en­cour­age any­one suf­fer­ing at the hands of an abu­sive part­ner to reach out for help by call­ing the Penn­syl­va­nia Coali­tion Against Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence at 1-800-932-4632. Among the ser­vices pro­vided to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims are cri­sis in­ter­ven­tion; coun­sel­ing; ac­com­pa­ni­ment to po­lice, med­i­cal and court fa­cil­i­ties; and tem­po­rary emer­gency shel­ter for vic­tims and their de­pen­dent chil­dren.

Those in need of as­sis­tance can also call the United Way’s 2-1-1 ser­vices cen­ter. This is a free, three-digit tele­phone num­ber with trained in­for­ma­tion spe­cial­ists who can an­swer ques­tions and con­nect you with thou­sands of health and hu­man ser­vices pro­grams that can help you through your par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. Just dial 2-1-1.

Get­ting out of an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship can be dif­fi­cult; how­ever, there are pro­grams and ser­vices that can be of great help, and I en­cour­age you to make use of them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.