State Senate Approves Bipartisan Crime Victims Package


Harrisburg – The State Senate approved a package of bills that would strengthen protections for victims of crime and ensure that victims and their families are treated with respect and dignity by the criminal justice system.

Six of the bills would strengthen and reform Pennsylvania’s domestic violence laws, offer greater protections to victims of domestic violence and their children, and hold abusers accountable.  Another measure, known as Marsy’s Law, would establish a crime victims’ bill of rights in the Pennsylvania Constitution to protect and expand the rights of victims of violent crime.

The following bills were approved by the Senate and now go to the House for consideration.

Senate Bill 313 makes it easier for domestic violence victims to remove the name of an abuser from a shared telephone plan. (Sponsored by Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18)

Senate Bill 449 allows Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases. (Tierne’s Law) (Sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-46)

Senate Bill 500 ensures that law enforcement protection is available to a victim before or while PFA orders are being served. (Sponsored by Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-38)

Senate Bill 501 removes third-party safekeeping as an option for a domestic violence defendant ordered by the court to relinquish firearms. (Sponsored by Sen. Tom Killion, R-9)

Senate Bill 502 makes it easier for the court to extend a PFA order when an abuser is released from custody. (Sponsored by Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26)

Senate Bill 919 allows domestic violence victims who live in public housing to be relocated to another unit. (Sponsored by Sen. Art Haywood, D-4)

Senate Bill 1011 amends the state Constitution to creating a crime victims’ “Bill of Rights.” (Marsy’s Law) (Sponsored by Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-37)