Report: 102 Pennsylvanians Were Killed by Domestic Violence Last Year

Illustration via PCADV’s 2016 Fatality Report.

102 people were killed by domestic violence in Pennsylvania last year, according to a new report released by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Fifty-six of the victims were female, and 46 male.

The oldest victim was 86 years old. The youngest victim was only one year old.

The 102 tally in the PCADV report is conservative, because it does not include unsolved cases or cases where no arrest was made, or child abuse cases. Pennsylvania does not have reporting requirements for domestic violence homicides. PCADV compiles its annual list based on news accounts, police reports, and information received from their 60 programs serving all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

The count also does not include the death of 37 perpetrators, who most often died by suicide.

The 2016 fatality count includes two police officers. Domestic violence situations are often some of the most dangerous calls law enforcement officers investigate. Domestic calls were the leading circumstances of fatal shootings, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s (NLEOMF) preliminary end-of-the-year report.

The majority of domestic homicides were by gunfire.

Pennsylvania makes it too easy for domestic abusers to obtain and access firearms. Currently, Pennsylvania law allows “third-party safekeeping” as a surrender option for PFA (protection from abuse) defendants, a provision that has directly led to murders. In November, the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission formally recommended abolishing the practice of third-party safekeeping in a report commissioned to analyze blind-spots and gaps in current policy and protocol related to domestic violence and firearms.

To close this loophole, State Sen. Tom Killion (R-Delaware/Chester) recently announced his intention to introduce a bill that aims to better protect parties involved in domestic abuse cases and PFA orders.

The bill is expected to be formally introduced on Tuesday March 28.

This effort, announced on the first day of Pennsylvania’s two-year legislative session, is a rebooted version of SB1182, a bill that never made it out of Committee last session.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

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