Sunday, November 12, 2017

Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act (PVSVIA), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 62A01-62A20 - standard of proof - preponderance of the evidence

EAM v. AMD III – Superior Court – October 26, 2017

The standard of proof under the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act (PVSVIA), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 62A01-62A20, is a preponderance of the evidence, like the Protection from Abuse Act, 23 Pa. C.S. 6101 et seq., despite the fact that the definition of “sexual violence” is defined by reference to the Crimes Code, 18 Pa. C.S. ch. 31.

The court said that the “argument that the PVSVIA requires a finding of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, is untenable in light of the statutory framework as a whole. Thus, we reject Appellant’s premise that a criminal conviction or other finding of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a prerequisite to a successful PVSVIA claim.” 

By its express terms, the statute is meant to provide “safety and protection from future interactions with” the person who abused them, “regardless of whether they seek criminal prosecution....This chapter provides the victim with a civil remedy requiring the offender to stay away from the victim....”   [emphasis in original]
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