RESOLUTION OF THE PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL NO. 1717, PRINTER'S NO. 2103
TO AMEND THE
PENNSYLVANIA PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ACT
TO PERMIT JUDGES TO GRANT
PROTECTION FROM ABUSE ORDERS
FOR UP TO EIGHTEEN MONTHS

WHEREAS, on June 16, 1999, Representatives Browne, Armstrong, Battiston, et al., introduced House Bill No. 1717, Printer's No. 2103, which proposes to amend Section 6108(d) of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes by increasing the possible duration of an Order entered pursuant to the Protection From Abuse Act from twelve to eighteen months;

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has always strongly supported victims of domestic violence and their families;

WHEREAS, in spite of heightened public awareness and law reform efforts aimed at abuse prevention, domestic violence remains a pervasive problem which accounts for the largest proportion of murders of women nationally as well as in Pennsylvania, where every three days an adult or child dies as a result of a domestic violence-related crime;

WHEREAS, domestic violence creates dangerous living conditions for children who, as a result of mere exposure to the abuse of another family member, may suffer significant emotional problems similar to those experienced by children who are actually battered themselves;

WHEREAS, since the time immediately following separation is one of the most dangerous for victims of domestic violence, the possibility of obtaining a longer protection order would address legitimate concerns about future safety;

WHEREAS, granting final protection from abuse orders for a longer period would reduce the need of some battered individuals to seek to extend an order, thereby reducing the potential trauma and danger that would be caused by further contact with the abuser at the additional hearings required;

WHEREAS, since many victims of abuse are unable to obtain a divorce and property division in twelve months, extending the duration of an order to eighteen months would increase the possibility that a petitioner could obtain a divorce and divide property while still under the protection of a judge's order;

WHEREAS, the proposed amendment would provide trial judges with an additional tool in an area of the law where judicial discretion is especially appropriate and necessary;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED , that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports enactment of House Bill No. 1717, Printer's No. 2103, or other legislation in substantially the same form, and authorizes the Chancellor to take all necessary steps, including contacting appropriate members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate regarding this Association's support for this legislation.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: October 26, 1999