Proposed Legislation Seeks More Protection For Domestic Violence Victims

07.09.13 | Abby Lutcher

To avoid similar tragedies, on Monday, a state representative outlined proposed legislation to add more protection for victims of domestic violence. State Rep. Scott Conklin, a Democrat from Centre County, said he is introducing legislation that would allow electronic GPS monitoring of an alleged abuser in certain domestic violence cases. Under the bill, courts could grant the monitoring in abuse cases while a protection from abuse order is in effect. Miscavish's parents as well as other members of her family were in attendance at the press conference in State College to express support for the proposed legislation. "Sadly, an all-too-clear tragedy explains why this is necessary," Conklin said in a news release. "Traci Ann Raymond Miscavish lived in fear of her estranged husband. Traci had a PFA against him, yet he was able to track her down at her place of employment and take her life before taking his own." A PFA bans a suspected abuser from harassing, stalking, threatening or further abusing a protected person. Under Pennsylvania law, abuse is defined as causing or attempting to cause bodily harm, stalking, sexual assault, false imprisonment, and physical or sexual abuse of a minor. "Traci's PFA became final less than two months before she was murdered," Conklin said. "I believe that if my bill was law at that time, Traci may be alive today." Under Conklin's proposal, electronic GPS monitoring could be used, a system similar to ankle bracelets used on people under house arrest. The device would then alert the person who filed the PFA that the other person is near. Conklin said 21 other states permit the use electronic monitoring devices in domestic violence cases. "Electronic GPS monitoring would reinforce a very effective tool that can bring peace of mind to so many domestic violence victims who live in constant fear of their abuser. This could also allow law enforcement officers to get in front of a potential incident and stop it before it starts," Conklin said. Miscavish's family said they believe a tracking device would have saved Traci's life and they hope the legislation passes so others can be helped. Conklin said, "This is long overdue, And I say to my colleagues to take this tragic event and turn it into a call to action. There is no better way to honor Traci and better protect each and every victim of domestic violence." Upon introduction, the bill will be referred to a House committee for further review.