Things I Am Not Sick Of

... Or rather, people I am not sick of, specifically three of them (Link:)

After learning that battered women in Philadelphia are largely responsible for serving their attackers with court stay-away orders, aghast City Council members yesterday called upon the Committee on Public Safety to explore alternatives to a process they deemed dangerous for abuse victims.

"The current system . . . is absolutely preposterous and untenable," Councilman Bill Green said in a statement. "Not only are we causing the abuse victim additional mental anguish, but we are placing the victim in additional danger of physical harm."

Green, along with Council members Maria Quinones Sanchez, Curtis Jones Jr. and Blondell Reynolds Brown, introduced a resolution authorizing the safety committee to hold hearings on the service of protection-from-abuse orders, or PFAs.

Yesterday's resolution was prompted by a Daily News series on domestic violence that ran in late December.

The series followed one victim's exhausting and frightening quest to serve her alleged attacker with a temporary PFA issued by Family Court.

Quinones Sanchez, Green, and Jones, Jr. To paraphrase my hero, Ronald Reagan, there they go again.

Basically, we have a stupid, asinine law that women who get protective orders against their abusers must... actually serve those orders themselves. If women felt like they were in danger, they could call 911 and get police to accompany them, which about half do.

I am sure calling 911 is a barrier for some women in the first place. And, even if the police do a good job of accompanying them whenever they are asked, it is ridiculous that we are putting abused women in the position where they have to unnecessarily confront their alleged abuser.

We have some good Councilpeople who have served for a while (Kenney, Tasco, Goode, etc.), but sometimes bringing in new people is simply helpful because they can look at stupid things that have gone for a long time, and simply say "WTF?"

My BFF, Donna Miller, is chair of the Public Safety Committee, and yet to set hearings. Hopefully this happens soon.

Nice job, Daily News. This is just another example of how important local print media can be.

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Update: Please see the comments below from Seth Levi, from Councilman Green's office, who clarifies (and corrects me, on) what exactly happens when woman get protective orders.

Yeah, new councilmembers -

Yeah, new councilmembers - again.

I really am not trying to steer this back to boring petitions challenges but the connection here is really weird so please excuse me.

I attended kbojar's fundraiser for Vanessa Brown and Vanessa amongst other things is someone who has unfortunately been forced to serve an abuser in just such a manner. She is actually a very inspiring and moving speaker on the subject and has a couple of interesting ideas i wish I could recall right now about how to change the process. She also however specifically mentioned having flashbacks to the process of serving the court order for protection to an ex when she had to serve her challenge to her electoral opponent's petitions and spoke quite eloquently on the parallels.

I will say it was one of the more moving points she made at the event.

Anyhoo, back to the really stupid policy the city should have changed years ago vis-a-vis victims of abuse.
-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

Clarification

Dan:

Thanks for raising this important issue.

I would like to clarify a few points you made.

While the police are not obligated to serve protection orders, it is our understanding that when asked, the police are extremely responsive to the abuse victim’s needs. For this, we are truly appreciative. Unfortunately, because of the large volume of orders and the informality of the requests, the police are unable to serve all the orders as expeditiously as the law requires.

It is also our understanding that people call 911 with a fabricated complaint to get the police onsite to serve the protection order because they are unaware that they could go to the police for help serving the complaint. They do this because the current system does not adequately educate victims to all of their options.

Victims are not required to serve orders themselves – any competent adult may do it. However, as there is small window of time to serve the order – 48 hours – many victims feel pressured to serve the order themselves rather than lose time looking for someone else to do it. While there are professional services that will serve the orders, many cannot afford to pay the associated fee.

The purpose of our resolution is to hold a committee hearing where we bring together all of the affected stakeholders – victims, police and courts – so that we can craft a solution that best fits Philadelphia.

If anyone is interested in testifying, please contact our office: 215-686-3420 and ask for Seth or Lauren.

Seth Levi
Office of Councilman Bill Green

Thanks for the info Seth.

Thanks for the info Seth.

Taser Ban Repeal?

Maybe the City can also look at the stupid Taser Ban, which seems to not have caught on nationwide as it was hoped-for when it was passed. Instead of carrying a Taser when you serve that protection order, you now have to bring a more lethal form of deterrent or hire a bodyguard; since we all know the people who get served these kinds of orders are nuts and are likely to explode with rage when they get served.

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