PA Senate passes bill to protect victims of domestic violence, monitor assailants
December 19, 2017
The State Senate has unanimously passed Senate Bill 196, a bill that allows judges to order a defendant in a Protection from Abuse order case to wear an electronic monitoring device.
If a judge determines the defendant presents a substation risk of violating the PFA, they may mandate the use of an electronic monitoring device. Monitors would be alerted when the defendant is in violation of the order. The costs of that monitoring will be borne by the defendant.
The bill will be referred to “Alina’s Law” if enacted, in remembrance of the University of Pittsburgh student Alina Sheykhet, who was raped and murdered by her boyfriend after she got a PFA against him.
“Alina was just 20 years old when she summoned the courage to pursue a PFA against her violent boyfriend. She came to the justice system for help – and it failed her,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “I think this bill could have saved Alina. This bill could save many victims of domestic violence before it becomes fatal.”
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported 102 people died from an incident of domestic violence last year.
“This bill gives judges a tool that they need to protect victims of domestic violence. Too often, assailants violate PFAs and do more harm to their victims,” said Senator Vince Hughes, the prime sponsor of SB 196. “One death is a death too many.”
SB 196 now moves to the House for consideration. If it passes unchanged in that chamber, it will go to the governor’s desk.