Governor Wolf Signs Bill Strengthening Domestic Violence Laws

October 26, 2016

Harrisburg, PA –  Today, Governor Wolf signed a bill sponsored by Representative Becky Corbin that amend Title 19 (Crimes and Offenses) to include strangulation as a form of assault. Prior to the signing of this bill, there was no criminal statute specifically addressing the act of intentionally impeding or interfering with a person’s breathing or circulation.

“By signing this bill, I hope to prevent acts of non-lethal strangulation from later becoming domestic violence homicide and give law enforcement the tools they need to charge abusers to the fullest extent of the law,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “When someone experiences abuse, it does not affect just the victim. It hurts all of us and breaks down the bonds of trust in our communities.”

A 2001 study from the Journal of Emergency Medicine found that 10 percent of violent deaths in the United States could be attributed to strangulation and most of those victims were women.  Nearly half of domestic violence homicide victims reported being choked or strangled in at least one episode prior to their eventual homicide.  This suggests that strangulation behavior is correlated with future homicide in domestic violence cases.

Additionally, Governor Wolf signed the following three bills into law:

Act 110 (Sainato) – Amends the Emergency & Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act providing for the payment of death benefits to members of the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol.

Act 112 (Topper) – Act authorizing PA to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact; providing for the form of the compact; imposing additional powers & duties on Governor, Secretary of Commonwealth & Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

Act 113 (Baker) – Amends the Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law extending benefits to certain employees of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission; and making editorial changes.

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