October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Spreading Awareness about options:  Protection from Abuse

It has been nineteen years since Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in recognition of the severity of crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  The Office on Violence Against Women exists to provide federal leadership in the mission to stop domestic violence, sexual assault, battery, stalking and other forms of abuse committed against women.  The Office adminsters assistance to communities in their development of programs, policies, and practices to bring and to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Power and control issues are often the sources of abuse; hence, domestic violence may initiate or peak when a woman is leaving a relationship.  Fortunately, a victim of domestic violence can file for a “protection order.” A Protection from Abuse Order, or PFA, is an order issued by the court upon petition of the victim.  It can be filed against any family member, husband, wife, parent, or sexual partner. It is enforceable in all 50 states and in Indian Tribal lands. The Protection from Abuse (PFA) order is issued by court upon application by the victim.  Recent updates in Pennsylvania affect Bucks County victims of abuse.  Click here for more information on changes to filing for PFA in Bucks County.

Domestic violence against women and children may come in form of marital rape, physical harm as well as emotional and economic abuse. While violence against women had dropped significant by 60% from its institution, there are still issues that have to be addressed particularly with children. Remember, if you suffered through physical and emotional abuse without taking actions to stop the behavior, your children may begin to think abuse is not bad at all. Children exposed to abuse on a consistent basis may think that sex crimes and domestic violence are normal and end up in similar relationships as young adults.

Normally, victims of domestic violence will suffer emotionally and psychologically the most. They are helpless and sometimes refuse to speak out for fear of ruining family reputation, relationships, or any extranneous factors surrounding the abuse.  Last year, Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law 42 Pa. C.S. § 5920.  This amendment allows expert psychological testimony during sex crime trials to help combat the often secretive and difficult process of evaluating the abuse.

With this amendment, prosecutors can present experts on sex crimes to testify on the victim's behavior.  The experts can also provide their professional opinion and assessment of the impact of the crime.  The assessment can evaluate trauma incurred during the assault and future consequences of the assault.

If you or someone you know is coping with domestic violence and needs counsel, contact the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. to schedule a consultation with an attorney.  Call our office at (215) 942-2100 or complete an inquiry form with the appropriate contact information.