The Interbranch Commission implements recommendations from the Report of The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in The Justice System. View the Report
Chaired by Lucille Marsh, Esq., the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims Committee’s first step toward its goal of educating the public about the nature of domestic violence was the publication of its pamphlet entitled Domestic Violence: Safety Tips for You and Your Family. More than 100,000 copies of the pamphlet have been produced in both English and Spanish and distributed throughout the Commonwealth’s judicial offices and local police departments, among other locations. In addition, the Committee conducted training seminars for judges and court employees regarding the nuances of cultural issues in domestic violence and sexual assault cases. Finally, the Committee recently completed its study of safety procedures in courthouse and court-related facilities in domestic violence and sexual assault cases. The study resulted in the publication of And Safety for All: A Guide for Making the Courts Safe for Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The manual, which included the study’s findings and a safety checklist, was sent to all of the Commonwealth’s judicial districts. The Committee’s next step includes collaborating with victim’s advocates to help implement the manual’s recommendations in local jurisdictions, and conducting training sessions regarding courthouse safety.
The Committee also launched a project to educate law enforcement and prosecutors on the issue of sex trafficking of female juveniles in Pennsylvania. The Committee collaborated with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition in hosting an extensive training session in October 2011 on the issue, and is advocating for legislative changes to encourage prosecution of traffickers and support services for victims. The Committee also congratulates PCAR and Superior Court Judge Jack A. Panella for completing the first edition of a Benchbook on Crimes of Sexual Violence in Pennsylvania, designed specifically for Magisterial District Court Judges. A link to the Benchbook is included at right, under Reports.
The Committee’s priorities are based on the Final Report of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in the Justice System. For detailed information on the study’s findings and priorities as they relate to domestic violence and sexual assault, please see Chapters Ten and Eleven of the Report.