Protection From Abuse (Central Pennsylvania)
Authored By: MidPenn Legal Services
In Pennsylvania, victims of domestic violence can get protection orders under a law called the Protection From Abuse (PFA) Act. Here is how the PFA Act can help you.
WHO CAN ASK FOR A PFA?
Anyone who is being abused by:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A current or former sexual or intimate partner
- A parent or child
- A person related by blood or marriage
WHAT IS ABUSE?
- Causing or attempting to cause bodily injury
- Placing someone in fear of serious bodily injury
- Physically or sexually abusing a minor child
- Interfering with an individual's freedom of movement (for example: restraining, false imprisonment)
Emotional, Mental and Financial abuse are also behaviors abusers often use to control their victims. However, the PFA Act cannot grant relief based solely on these factors.
HOW CAN A PFA HELP ME?
A PFA Order can do the following:
- Direct an abuser not to abuse, threaten, harass or stalk you
- Evict or exclude the abuser from your residence
- Prohibit the abuser from contacting you
- Grant you temporary custody of your minor children
- Grant you temporary child or spousal support
- Prohibit the abuser from having any guns or gun permits
- Direct the abuser to attend a batterer's counseling program (depending on jurisdiction)
- Direct the abuser to reimburse you for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of the abuse
- Ask the judge to grant any other relief deemed just and appropriate
WHEN SHOULD I FILE A PFA?
Everyone's circumstances are different, and if you are considering filing for a PFA you may want to speak with a Domestic Violence Counselor or an attorney to be sure you can do so safely and effectively.
Some things to consider when filing for a PFA:
- The timing of the most recent incident of abuse.
- Has the abuse been getting worse recently?
- Will filing for a PFA help increase my safety?
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE
HOW LONG DOES A PFA LAST?
A final order can last up to three years. However, a judge can extend the order if it is violated or if the abuser exhibits a pattern of behavior that indicates that the abuse is likely to continue.
WHAT IF THE ABUSER VIOLATES THE PFA ORDER?
If the abuser violates the PFA Order, you should call the police immediately.
The police can arrest the abuser and charge him/her with indirect criminal contempt. If, after a hearing, the judge finds the abuser guilty of violating the order, he/she can be put in jail for up to six (6) months and/or be fined up to $1,000.
This brochure is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION
IN YOUR COUNTY:
If you have specific questions about Protection From Abuse
contact your local legal services program.
MidPenn Legal Services serves residents of Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, Mifflin, Schuylkill & York Counties.
MIdPenn Legal Services
|This pamphlet is meant to give general information and not specific legal advice. MidPenn Legal Services (MPLS) in providing this information, is in no way agreeing or implying that it will represent individuals who use the enclosed information. Although this information is believed accurate at the time of preparation, MPLS assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of this information. Individual situations require individual analysis.|