Sep. 30, 2020
HARRISBURG – The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved legislation by Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) to further protect victims of domestic violence. House Bill 175
now goes to the full House for consideration.
Klunk’s House Bill 175 would require all municipal police officers in Pennsylvania to undergo training on domestic violence which will include training on assessing the lethality risk of domestic violence incidents.
“One of the unforeseen side effects of the governor’s response to the pandemic, particularly the stay-at-home order, is an increase in at-home abuse, including domestic violence,” Klunk said, citing local media reports.
The bill is modeled on the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) training, which is a highly effective method for law enforcement to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partners. Officers are trained to ask a series of questions, and certain answers can indicate an increased risk for homicide. If there is an elevated risk, the responding officer would call a local 24-hour domestic violence hotline to seek advice and would then encourage the victim to speak with the specially trained hotline advocate.
“Though several police departments in York County have implemented the program, that’s not the case throughout the Commonwealth,” Klunk said. “The legislation would bring an evidenced-based and data driven assessment tool to domestic violence responses.”
Additionally, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously supported Klunk’s amendment to Senate Bill 1193, which would require the same domestic violence training of Pennsylvania’s sheriffs and deputy sheriffs. The legislation, which includes other training measures for sheriffs, now goes to the full House for consideration.
Victims of domestic violence should seek help. They can call the 24-hour national hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and trained advocates are available to help every day and in over 200 languages. They can also go to pcadv.org
and click on the tab labeled “Find Help” to find local resources. Those in immediate danger should call 911.
Representative Kate A. Klunk
169th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross