Domestic violence is a serious concern in Pennsylvania and around the country. In recent years, there has been increased awareness of intimate partner violence and ways to prevent it. However, immigrants who are victims of domestic violence are often particularly vulnerable.
In a domestic violence case, Pennsylvania law may call for the victim to be given a protective order. In many cases, the protective order forbids an abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim for a predetermined amount of time. An emergency order may expire within a day while a general order may last for up to 18 months. However, an order may be extended indefinitely if necessary.
If a Pennsylvania resident is living in fear of domestic violence, there are several protection options that they can utilize. While these options may not stop an abuser from continuing to harass or threaten the victim, they do allow the authorities to act should an abuser break the protection agreement.
If a Pennsylvania resident or any other individual is being followed or otherwise fears for their safety, they may be the victim of stalking. Stalking can also involve threatening or harassing behavior such as repeated phone calls or showing up at a person's place of employment. It is possible that talking to someone without their consent or lying in wait for them could be taken as stalking as well.
Domestic abuse is a problem that affects many people in Pennsylvania. About 25 percent of women in the U.S. are victims of domestic abuse at some point in their lives. During a typical year, there are over 10 million domestic violence incidents, or one incident about every three seconds.
Advocates for victims of domestic abuse in Pennsylvania know that the majority of murdered American women die at the hands of current or former intimate partners. For years, the Lautenberg Amendment has barred people from legally owning guns after a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence conviction. This federal law, however, has now been challenged by representatives for two men, and the case will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pennsylvanians have likely heard of Track Palin, the son of John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election. Track Palin was arrested in January on charges of domestic violence and other misdemeanors, as reported by police in Wasilla, Alaska. The police investigation determined that Palin had assaulted his girlfriend, interfered with her ability to report the act of domestic violence and was in possession of a firearm while he was intoxicated.
Most Pennsylvania residents are aware of the shocking mass murder incidents that have happened, both recently and in the past few years. While society is rightfully focused on what can be done to help prevent them, there is a less well-known problem of mass shootings that largely avoids the national news.
Many Pennsylvania residents are the victims of domestic violence every year. Sadly, a large number of these cases go unreported, many because the victims are frightened or they make excuses for the perpetrators' behaviors. Another issue is that some people believe domestic violence only occurs with physical abuse, but the term encompasses several different types of behaviors that can be characterized as abusive.