681 would authorize a victim of sexual assault to petition the court
requesting protection from the defendant regardless of whether the
victim seeks criminal prosecution.
in Pennsylvania, orders of protection are available to sexual assault
victims only if a criminal case has been initiated. But, in fact, only
28% of victims ever report their victimization to law enforcement. Even
when victims do choose to report, many cases are not prosecuted because
of the burden of proof or problems with evidence.
on a hearing, the legislation would allow a court to order a defendant
from having any contact with the victim directly or through a third
party. This same protection is currently available to victims of
victims of sexual violence deserve the same protection from any future
contact with an offender, regardless of whether they press criminal
charges,” said Senator Greenleaf. “Victims of sexual assault are left
traumatized and fearful when they have no legal protection. We must
provide court ordered protection to keep them safe.”
bill was drafted with the support of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against
Rape (PCAR). According to PCAR, “the proposed legislation reflects a
growing national trend to protect victims of sexual violence and if
passed, will provide victims with a civil remedy that requires the
offender to stay away.”
In addition to the District of Columbia, 26 states have passed laws providing protection orders for sexual assault victims.