HB 2401 re Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders

  1. 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
    161st district
    pennsylvania house of representatives
    (610) 461-5543
    (717) 783-6430
    contact: jennifer j. algoe
    house republican communications
    (717) 787-3993
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  3. by   Havin' A Party!
    Hope it helps!
  4. by   Altra
    Nice to see this issue being given some consideration by the Legislature, but I have to wonder what, if any, real impact this bill will have if it becomes law.

    Having been intimately involved in the 15-year long nightmare that was my best friend's abusive marriage, I think that the effectiveness of PFAs varies significantly based on the support (or lack of support) that the victim of abuse has from family & friends, the attitude of the local police dept., and particular dynamics of the relationship between abuser and victim. Some PFAs "aren't worth the paper they're written on," as the saying goes, and even additional penalties will not stop an abuser who feels he has the upper hand.