legislation that would further protect victims of domestic violence and deter subjects of protection from abuse (pfa) orders from committing violations has been endorsed by the house judiciary committee, rep. tom gannon (r-delaware), sponsor of the bill, said today.
"more than 60,000 victims of domestic violence currently have pfas on file to protect them from further abuse in pennsylvania," gannon said. "but for some alleged abusers, a piece of paper will not stop them. that is why we need to have in place stricter deterrents to keep victims from living in fear."
under gannon's legislation, house bill 2401, the driver's license of a pfa subject would be suspended if he or she repeatedly violates a pfa order, a foreign protection order or a court-approved consent agreement.
"in most cases, alleged abusers rely on their vehicles to violate a pfa, either by driving to the victim's home or work place," gannon said. "in taking away the driving privileges of those who repeatedly violate the protection order, i am hopeful this will further protect victims of domestic violence."
in addition, the legislation would also make it more difficult for a person to commit a repeat violation of a protection order. currently, imprisonment is the only sure way to prevent a repeat violation, he said.
under the legislation, a person subject to a domestic violence protection order who is found to have repeatedly been in indirect criminal contempt for violating the protection order for the second time would receive a 90-day suspension. third and subsequent incidents would be subject to a six-month suspension of driving privileges.
gannon also recognized the person's need to work, and therefore, his legislation stipulates that the individual under the pfa would be permitted an occupational limited license to be used for traveling to work, school or for treatment.
"this is necessary to include because the income derived through their work is the income needed to support the very persons protected by the order," he continued.
gannon's legislation was one of a series of measures that was the subject of a public hearing on march 25 and is supported by the pennsylvania coalition against domestic violence. the coalition commended him for his measure which it said is an "innovative response" to the issue of domestic violence.
house bill 2401 now moves to the full house for consideration.
rep. thomas gannon
pennsylvania house of representatives
contact: jennifer j. algoe
house republican communications