Transitions of PA is a non-profit, comprehensive crime victims' services center for Union, Snyder, and Northumberland counties in central Pennsylvania.
Transitions provides advocacy, empowerment, and education to victims, survivors, families, and communities to end patterns of violence and abuse.
Many in our community, including victims, families, and justice system personnel, have voiced a need for supervised visitation and custody exchange services. There is currently no facility where parents with a history of domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse may safely exchange custody of children. Additionally, there is no availability of supervised visitation services in the tri-county area. When the Courts order supervised visitation, it is typically a family member who provides supervision during the visit. Numerous studies have shown a higher risk for injury and lethality during times of custody exchange.
In 2015, there were 441 temporary protection orders filed in Snyder, Union, and Northumberland Counties. Of these, 80 orders included 143 minor plaintiffs. Children are only listed as plaintiffs in protection orders when the abuser has directly abused or threatened to harm the children. The number of children who experience or witness domestic violence between their parents is likely much higher. In 2015, there were 177 new custody cases filed in Snyder County and 106 new custody cases filed in Union County.
Funds raised through the No More Challenge will be used to renovate a facility, our Family Justice Center, for the purpose of supervised visitation and custody exchange. Through this project, Transitions will protect children from the trauma of witnessing domestic violence or experiencing abduction, injury, or death during parent and child visitations and exchanges.