Domestic Violence Reporting Requirements in Pennsylvania
Posted on December 8th, 2020 in Family Law
Since the onset of COVID-19, there have been increased concerns for domestic violence victims as they are forced to remain in close confines with their abusers. Though the number of calls reporting domestic violence across the United States dropped by 50% in some regions, law enforcement and medical professionals alike know that it doesn’t mean violence has stopped but rather, victims have limited means to get help.
Though 2020 has proven difficult for so many, for those domestic violence survivors, the suffering has been so much more. However, it is important to spread awareness and resources for those who need it most.
Domestic Violence Reporting Requirements
In Pennsylvania, there are certain individuals who are legally mandated by state law to report abuse or injury including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to family violence. The following individuals are mandated reporters in the Commonwealth.
- DV/SA Advocate
- Social Worker
- Mental Health Professional
- Health Care Provider
- Long-Term Care Facility Staff
- Educators and other school employees
- Child-Care Providers
- Spiritual Leaders
- Law Enforcement
- Anyone who knows of abuse
Unfortunately, given work from home mandates, school closures, and other changes in what used to be “normal” life, many of these mandated reporters are not physically near those who need their help most.
While the reporting requirements have not changed, those who suspect abuse may need guidance on what signs to look for in this virtual landscape we find ourselves in.
Signs of Domestic Violence During WFH and Virtual Learning
Though there are the common signs of domestic violence like isolation, physical trauma, etc., during the new normal, it can be harder to tell if someone is being abused or if this is just their response to the stress of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there are some signs of domestic violence to be mindful of during the work from home and virtual learning era:
- Limited to no communication outside of the expected
- Physical trauma
- Changes in how the person communicates (ie. is someone reading their correspondence or responding for them)
- Limited access to needs (internet, computer, webcams, cellphones, etc.)
In general, if your coworker or student is suddenly behaving in ways that were not in line with their previous response to the pandemic or other life events, it likely is a sign something is happening at home.
Though you do not want to put others in more danger, being an ally can make the difference between life and death.
Domestic violence is a problem that is not only growing rapidly, but the implications of its occurrence during these uneasy times have only further exacerbated its consequences. At Kalinoski Law Offices, we are not only an ally to those who need protection, but we can guide you through the legal process, ensuring that you can no longer be victimized.
Domestic Violence Reporting in Pennsylvania: Attorney Craig Kalinoski
In Pennsylvania, domestic violence is not a separate charge from assault or aggravated assault and battery; instead, the courts take additional considerations when determining domestic violence accusations. These charges can be complicated, but your safety depends on you trusting law enforcement and an attorney to help you or a loved one through the process.
Our Scranton domestic violence attorney is available to assist in obtaining a PFA order or other domestic violence-related charges. To arrange a confidential, free initial consultation with a strong family law advocate, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000.