“Getting someone out of a domestic violence situation is difficult because there are attachments there,” said Paul Lukach, Executive Director of the Crime Victim Center.
Different agencies from the City of Erie are coming together in efforts to help put an end to domestic violence.
“We attend violence workshops, study groups and forums with SafeNet, so that we can not only update them with the latest trends, but that we are able to implement some of their training into the police departments and really work together to make sure that the trend of domestic violence goes down.” said Captain Rick Lorah.
A new protocol for Erie Police when responding to a domestic violence call is to complete a lethality assessment screen. The importance of the questionnaire goes far beyond police work.
“Doing that questionnaire and seeing what the risk factors really are not only alerts the police, but this is something that we need to take much more care for, but it can also help the victim realize. I didn’t realize how far down I was in this rabbit hole. I need to see the police as helping me.”
In Pennsylvania, victims can file for a protection from abuse order, and while this can serve as a helpful tool. Experts say it’s always good to have a safety plan in place as well.
“Because even though it does come from the judge, it’s still only a piece of paper. A piece of paper doesn’t stop a fist, it doesn’t stop a knife. It doesn’t stop a gun. So, you need to always be thinking about your safety along wit that protection order.” said Robin Young, Director of Domestic Violence Services at SafeNet.
When requesting a PFA, there are three different levels. The first is an emergency order which lasts until the next business day. An ex-parte temporary PFA could last up to ten days. A final PFA could last up to three years.