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Pennsylvania


State Overview - State Summary - State Projects
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State Overview

Domestic Violence Legislation:Yes (23, §6101)
NIBRS Status:Testing
Additional Data ElementsNo
Law Enforcement System:Incident-based
Service Provider DV System:Summary
Service Provider SA System:Summary


State Summary

The state statute defining domestic violence includes incidents between same-sex partners. The state is testing an incident-based reporting system that does not include any additional data elements other than what is required by NIBRS. Every law enforcement agency is required to submit data via the Web. Until the incident-based system is fully implemented, law enforcement agencies have the option of reporting either incident-based or summary data to the Pennsylvania State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit. No additional information is collected in regard to domestic or sexual violence incidents. Monthly and annual summary data are available through an online query system, as are annual reports.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence maintains a domestic violence fatalities database with information collected from newspapers. Aggregate data are also collected from its 61 member programs. Information is collected for funding purposes only and is not currently available to the public. The Coalition also maintains the statewide Protection From Abuse Database (PFA), which is an electronic repository of all PFA pleadings and orders entered in Pennsylvania. The database connects all state judges and court personnel, law enforcement and other authorized users and generates information to the Pennsylvania State Police. Aggregate data are available upon request. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape collects monthly aggregate data from 52 sexual assault service providers in the state. The Coalition is developing an annual report and submits quarterly statistics to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.


State Projects

  • Evaluation of Victim Services Organizational Capacity Building Initiative

  • The National Center for State Courts is conducting an 18-month evaluation of the impact of organizational capacity building initiatives undertaken by five victim services agencies funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

  • Assessing the Use of Pennsylvania's Victim Compensation Assistance Program

  • The Justice Research and Statistics Association is conducting this study to identify ways to increase the utilization of crime victim compensation in Pennsylvania. The objectives of the study are to: 1) assess Pennsylvania's current rate of utilization of crime victim compensation and compare this to the rates of other states; 2) identify, via literature review and data analysis, factors that are related to utilization of compensation programs; and 3) develop recommendations for improving the program.

  • Protection From Abuse Database

  • The Protection From Abuse Database (PFAD) Project is a computer archival system for the electronic entry of all pleadings and orders relating to Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act cases in Pennsylvania. Records from PFAD are immediately available 24 hours a day/365 days a year to authorized users via a secured Internet Web site. PFAD staff provides trainings to users. These include on-site training in counties that are just beginning to use PFAD and those counties that require supplemental training. Staff also trains local law enforcement throughout the Commonwealth and provides training on PFAD´s indirect criminal contempt and civil contempt processes.

  • Evaluation of the Protection From Abuse Database Project

  • The National Center for State Courts conducted an evaluation of Pennsylvania's Protection From Abuse Database (PFAD). The 18-month project, funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, addressed the following issues: (1) PFAD usage; (2) user satisfaction and victim safety; and (3) data transmission and system integration. A local advisory board guided the project.

  • Evaluation of the STOP Violence Against Women Training Project

  • The University of Pittsburgh will assess the impact of the training project on the implementation of the STOP grant in participating counties. This will include an impact evaluation of the outcomes associated with the training, an identification of best practices in the existing statewide program, and development of a set of performance measures to aid in establishing guidelines for future training programs.

  • Protection Order Enforcement Project

  • The Protection Order Enforcement Project is a statewide initiative designed to provide training and technical assistance to counties throughout Pennsylvaniaia in an effort to ensure that protection orders are enforced consistently with Pennsylvania law. Funded by PCCD, PCADV staff offer no-cost assistance to constituencies charged with the implementation of the Protection From Abuse Act. In addition, six pilot sites representing the diversity of Pennsylvania's 67 counties have been identified to receive more intensive services. In collaboration with these counties' STOP implementationon teams and Criminal Justice Advisory Boards, training and technical support are geared to the unique issues of each of the six counties. The project also addresses Pennsylvania's underserved communities by offering training on the issues unique to identifying and serving those who traditionally do not seek, or cannot access, domestic violence services.

  • Civil Legal Representation

  • The Civil Legal Representation (CLR) Project enhances access to civil legal assistance and justice for victims of domestic violence. CLR attorneys assist survivors´ attorneys in obtaining court intervention that enhances a victim´s self-sufficiency, while also concentrating on her safety needs. CLR attorneys are engaged in effecting systematic legal change. With support from the CLR staff, CLR attorneys around the state have completed and filed appeals in the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Court. Staff also provides moot court opportunities for those attorneys who have filed appeals and are preparing for oral argument. The Domestic Violence Attorney Network, composed of CLR staff and CLR attorneys from around the state, meets on a regular basis throughout the year for training and information sharing.

  • Prevention of Dating Violence Among Runaway & Homeless Youth

  • This project, which began in October 2005, represents a partnership between the Mid-Atlantic Network of Youth and Family Services and PCADV. It involves runaway and homeless youth programs and domestic violence programs throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia. This collaborative project was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Enhancing Services for Children & Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence

  • Beginning in 2006, PCADV launched a project to expand the capacity of Pennsylvania domestic violence program staff to address the needs of children and adolescents and to support abused parents' efforts to build resiliency in their children. The program is designed to enhance intervention services that are focused on strengthening the abused parent-child relationship, demonstrated to be beneficial in addressing the trauma associated with a child's exposure to a batterer. With funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, five different programs were chosen as demonstration sites, based on diversity of geography, services offered, type of program, populations served, program quality and competency of the children´s advocate. These programs implemented 12-week home/community-based services to families, focused on helping the non-abusive parent understand and address the needs and behaviors of children resulting from exposure to domestic violence.

  • Medical Advocacy

  • Since 1993, PCADV Medical Advocacy Project has coordinated collaborative partnerships of community-based domestic violence programs and local health care systems/medical facilities to promote health care-based identification of domestic violence victims seeking health care services or treatment and the provision of support, information, education, resources and follow-up services within the health care setting.

  • PA STOP Violence Against Women and Judicial Training

  • PCADV provides training and technical assistance to the 46 STOP Grant counties in Pennsylvania. Training topics for STOP team members, consisting of law enforcement, prosecutors and victims service providers, include the Protection From Abuse Act and its recent amendments, stalking, firearms and primary aggressor issues. A STOP newsletter is published and distributed to STOP grant teams on a quarterly basis. Training and technical assistance are also provided to domestic violence advocates around the Commonwealth. Regularly scheduled Legal Advocacy Committee meetings provide an opportunity for advocates to obtain training and share information and strategies to better assist victims of domestic violence and their children. A weekly electronic update further provides these advocates with current information to support their efforts.

  • Welfare Project

  • The PCADV Welfare Project is a partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to implement federal legislation mandating county welfare offices to do the following:
    • Screen for domestic violence
    • Waive welfare program requirements that may place the victim and/or the children in danger
    • Refer clients for domestic violence services
    Under the guidance of the PCADV/DPW Domestic Violence Task Force, the following on-going activities occur: development and implementation of DPW policies that affect victims receiving public benefits; domestic violence awareness training for all welfare caseworkers and clerical support staff; cross-training of advocates on DPW policy; technical assistance to domestic violence program staff regarding welfare issues; and the development of written materials to support welfare advocacy.


    Available Reports

    General Crime

    Domestic Violence

    Sexual Assault

    Violence Against Women

    Stalking


    Sample Data Collection Forms

    The Pennsylvania State Police collects monthly offense counts from law enforcement with this summary data collection form:

    The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape collects summary data from service providers using this data entry form:

    The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency collects information from victims applying for compensation using these online forms:

    This survey was developed for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to provide health care providers a method for assessing domestic violence training needs:


    Available Data

    General Crime

    • Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Center for Research and Evaluation. (Annual). Corrections Statistics.
    • Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Center for Research and Evaluation. (Annual). Crime Statistics.
    • Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Center for Research and Evaluation. (Annual). Criminal Justice Trends.
    • Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Center for Research and Evaluation. (Annual). Sentencing Statistics.
    • Pennsylvania State Police. (Annual). UCR Query Facility.


    Domestic Violence

    Sexual Assault

    Stalking


    Links to State Agencies and Resources