DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has approved a bill strengthening court orders designed to protect potential victims of domestic violence.

The bill was approved unanimously Thursday, just one week after it was introduced, and now goes to the Senate.

The legislation would double the period that protection from abuse, or PFA, orders could be in effect from one year to two years. In cases in which someone was injured, a weapon was involved or there was an earlier protective order, a court could indefinitely extend a "no contact" provision.

State officials says roughly 2,900 PFA orders were requested in 2008, with 1,619 granted and 149 dismissed for lack of evidence.

The rest were dismissed because the applicant failed to appear at a hearing or voluntarily withdrew the petition.

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