MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Cumberland County state representative is going to introduce a bill that aims to help victims of domestic violence get justice.
Many victims and victim advocates see a trend in the courts: light sentences, and that’s if the case even makes it into a courtroom.
One victim told us her story.
“I would be crying and if I would cry I would get smacked. I would be told, you’re lucky that’s all you’re getting,” the victim said.
The abuse began soon after she married her husband five years ago.
He convinced her to stop working, threatened her friends and family and said he’d kill her.
“He would hit me with my son on his hip. emotional torture, financial torture, isolation, intimidation,” the victim said.
He’s now moved out and she’s trying to get a divorce, but he’s stalking her, violating a protection from abuse order.
He’s been arrested and dragged into court three times. Each time he was found not guilty.
Hampden Township Police Officer Robert Higgins isn’t surprised.
He says his department gets a domestic violence call daily.
He became a police officer because his own mother is a domestic abuse survivor.
“She had to constantly live her life in fear,” said Higgins.
She endured the control, the physical and mental abuse, the hopelessness and because it was the ’60s and ’70s, her husband never even got arrested.
Police attitudes have come a long way. There are now many arrests. However, Higgins believes, the courts have not moved with the times.
“Unfortunately, the way things work out is that it does turn into a very light sentence,” Higgins said.
Cumberland County Representative Sheryl Delozier is ready to do something about those light sentences.
“The more we talk about it, the more we can help,” Delozier said.
Pennsylvania records all sorts of crimes except domestic violence, so it’s impossible to track how judges rule.
Delozier’s bill will aim to add domestic violence cases to the record.
If it passes, victims in Pennsylvania could have a better chance for justice.