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The Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Statute

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The new Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Statute ("PVSVIS") operates much in the same way the the Protection from Abuse Act ("PFAA") does to protect those victims of sexual assault or intimidation.

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, PFAA Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

In March of 2014, the Pennsylvania Legislature, passed an act known as the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence of Intimidation Statute, that became law in July 1, 2015.  42 Pa.C.S.A. § 62A01, et seq.  The law's aim is to protect victims of sexual violence or intimidation by establishing a complaint and hearing process for such victims against defendants.

"Sexual violence" is defined by the Act as:

Conduct constituting a crime under any of the following provisions between persons who are not family or household members:

18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 31 (relating to sexual offenses), except 18 Pa.C.S. §§ 3129 (relating to sexual intercourse with animal) and 3130 (relating to conduct relating to sex offenders).  

Notably, this Act's scope is different than that of the PFAA, which protects family or household members, or persons previously engaged in a sexual relationship. There is no such requirement in this Act.  Arguably, the penalties that may follow, including contempt, jail, and fines for violation of a no contact order, which may be as long as 36 months, would also be enforced if there were pending criminal charges through either the filing of a petition to revoke bail or new charges.  It's a felony offense to contact or otherwise intimidate a victim of a sex crime.

However, it's the aim of this Act to provide a civil remedy for those who have been the victim of sexual violence.  The Act specifically allows a person who is protected by such an order to file a private criminal complaint against any person who is the subject of such an order.  A hearing must usually be held to determine if a violation occurred.  The subject could be held in contempt and if so, sentenced to fines and jail.  

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