Justice for Victims of Violence and Preventing Violence in our Community

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Senate Bill 63 − Hate-Based Intimidation

Senate Bill 63 will modernize Pennsylvania’s Hate Crimes Statute, currently known as “Ethnic Intimidation”.

This legislation recognizes that hate crimes are not limited to attacks based upon a person’s ethnicity and renames the statute “Hate-based Intimidation”. Hate-based intimidation includes attempting to cause or causing bodily injury, property damage, or threatening either causing reasonable fear of harm.

This legislation protects anyone from the crime of hate-based intimidation based on race, color, religion, or national origin, and adds those same protections for hate-based intimidation based on ancestry, sex, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, intellectual disability, physical or sensory disability or behavioral or mental health.

Over the past few years, hate-based acts of violence and destruction of property have dramatically risen across the US, including in Pennsylvania. Our current hate crimes statutes do no capture growing shares of identity-motivated violence. As civic leaders, we believe that we should unite in this effort to restore civility to public discourse, and that starts with naming hate-based intimidation and violence.

Senate Resolution 257 − Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This Resolution declares April 2022 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

Sexual assault has continued to be a serious social and public health issue in the United States. Everyday across the United States, thousands of people, regardless of cultural and economic backgrounds, are affected by rape and sexual assault. These experiences can be devastating for the survivor, as well as the survivor’s family and friends.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 67 men will be raped during their lives. Further, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are much more likely to report having been sexually assaulted during their lifetime than heterosexual, cisgender individuals. It is imperative that we recognize the strength, courage, and challenges faced by victims and survivors of sexual violence.

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