For Pennsylvania residents who live in abusive homes or who are in relationships where they fear they may be hurt or even killed by someone they love deserve to know how they can get help. Domestic violence is a complex problem and one that even those who track statistics seem to agree can be hard to always identify.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence develops and releases a report every year that details many different statistics on domestic abuse throughout the state. One of the measures it tracks is the number of people who die from abuse-related incidents. When determining which deaths can or should be attributed to domestic violence, a very specific definition of this type of violence is used. That is developed by the Protection from Abuse Act. Anything that does not specifically align with the Act's definition may not be recorded as a domestic violence death yet it may well have been.
In 2016, there were 102 people in Pennsylvania who are indicated to have died from domestic violence situations that meet the criteria for this type of abuse as outlined by the PFA. In the last decade, more than 1,600 lives have been lost to domestic violence statewide. Knowing that these numbers may in fact not reflect all domestic violence deaths illustrates the serious nature of this issue.
Pennsylvania residents who believe they or their children may be at risk due to an abusive situation may find it helpful to talk with an attorney to learn what type of protection is available and how to obtain it.
Source: Reading Eagle, "Steve Henshaw: Domestic violence statistics misleading," Steve Henshaw, April 29, 2017