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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Scott LaMar and WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.


Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson

Smart Talk: What's being done to stop domestic violence?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 15, 2014 12:46 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, June 16, 2014:

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Domestic violence plagues women and men of all ages, socioeconomic status, and education levels.  Deaths from domestic violence have increased in Pennsylvania since 2012.  Of the 107 victim deaths in 2013, more than half were a result of partner-related violence.  Five children died in domestic-violence related homicides.

Domestic violence is the physical abuse of a family member, sexual intimate, or person with whom you may have a child in common.  The legal definition of domestic violence in Pennsylvania includes attempting to cause bodily injury, rape, sexual assault, endangering another person’s welfare, and stalking.

For those affected by domestic abuse, the justice system offers civil legal protection with protection from abuse orders (PFAs).  A judge signs the order, which warns the perpetrator of domestic violence that if they do not cease the abuse, they will face serious legal consequences.

A protection from abuse orders the abuser away from the victim’s home and prohibits physical abuse, harassment, or stalking under penalty of imprisonment.  All firearms and weapons used to threaten the victim must to be turned over to the police.  The abuser is required to pay for damage caused to the victim, including medical treatment.  Minors are removed from the custody of an abuser.  A PFA also provides for temporary child support.

There are three types of PFAs.  Emergency PFAs may be ordered immediately by dialing 911 and will last until the next business day.  Ex parte temporary PFA will be ordered by a judge to protect the victim or an abused minor without a full court hearing for the abuser.  This will last for 10 business days until a hearing can be set.  A final PFA lasts up to three years and may be extended. 

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PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Legal Director Ellen Kramer and Executive Director Peg Dierkers

On Monday’s show, Peg Dierkers and Ellen Kramer from the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence will talk about ending domestic violence, ordering a PFA, and a program that attempts to identify those at high risk and connect them with services.

For more information on how to file a PFA:

PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Womens Law

PA Says No More

To contact the domestic abuse hotline, call: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Domestic Violence Videos:

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Comments: 3

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-06-16 08:35

    One listener emails:

    What happens when the PFA is done out of spite? I understand that the theory is valid, but what happens when it goes wrong? Basically, you are guilty until the PFA expires. In the case of the children/ elderly, there is one word- Sandusky. This can ruin someone for life if convicted via job/ criminal record. Is there verification of facts/ dates before the document (PFA) is filed? Please discuss the safeguards for the "defendant".

  • Schott Productions img 2014-06-16 09:09

    Thanks for highlighting the important work of PCADV, and providing listeners with information that can save lives. The discussion about the media I believe warrants more attention. News coverage of intimate partner violence and femicide leaves much to be desired. Victim blaming, lack of in-depth journalism, and a tendency to sensationalize personal tragedy do little to inform viewers and change outcomes. We need to get conversations like these into the mainstream media!

  • Robert Colgan img 2014-06-16 09:35

    I called in, mentioned that Domestic Abuse needs to be re-labeled as DOMESTIC TERRORISM----which it is.
    It fits every descriptor of terrorism.

    If we start calling it what it actually is, we might engage both the public and the government in a very different consciousness of the problem.

    The other thing I mentioned is that the district attorney's offices around the State are NOT using a primary legal tool, Section 2709.1-18, Stalking---which includes any perpetration of putting others in threat of harm or causing undo emotional distress with intent--------and this includes anyone in a person's life including those with whom one is living under the same roof.
    Were the DAs pushing this to the courts the courts would have to begin to recognize it. . . .the excuse that is currently being used by the DAs is that the courts will not accept the charge, therefore they can't use it in indictments: a false argument.

    The law as written couldn't be clearer:

    § 2709.1. Stalking.
    (a) Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of stalking when the person either:
    (1) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances which demonstrate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person; or
    (2) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicates to another person under circumstances which demonstrate or communicate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person.
    (b) Venue.--
    (1) An offense committed under this section may be deemed to have been committed at either the place at which the communication or communications were made or at the place where the communication or communications were received.
    (2) Acts indicating a course of conduct which occur in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any other jurisdiction in which an act occurred as evidence of a continuing pattern of conduct or a course of conduct.

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