Protection from Abuse
Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse act was written to protect victims of domestic violence. This legislation set forth guidelines for the issuance of a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, which forbids an individual from continuing abusive activities. Although you can file for PFA without legal representation, many people choose to hire an experienced attorney, to help them attain maximum legal protection during this frightening time.
Who Qualifies for a PFA?
The Protection From Abuse act has a broad definition of abuse, which includes but is not limited to causing physical harm, placing a person in danger, or causing a reasonable fear of physical harm. This includes sexual abuse, child abuse, and many stalking behaviors. However, this law does not offer protection from emotional abuse.
A PFA order may be issued if the abuser is:
- Your current or former spouse, common-law spouse, live-in boyfriend/girlfriend, intimate partner, or sexual partner
- Your parent
- Your child
- The parent of your child
- A blood relative
- A relative by marriage
Types of PFA Orders
- An emergency order may be issued by a Magisterial District Judge or Judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court when protection is needed immediately and the courts are closed. It protects a person until the next business day, when the individual can file for a PFA.
- A temporary PFA protects the individual while the case is proceeding. When it is issued, a hearing date is set for the final order. A temporary PFA will expire in ten days unless extended.
- A final PFA order places specified restrictions against the abuser. These may include ceasing specific activities, forbidding the possession of firearms, and prohibiting the abuser from entering the victim’s residence. The duration of this order may be as long as three years, and in some cases it may be extended.
If you have been issued a PFA and the abuser breaks the terms of the order, contact the local authorities immediately. The abuser can be arrested, and may be subject to jail time up to six months, a fine up to $1000.00, confiscation of weapons, or a combination there of.
The laws are designed to protect innocent parties, but they can also be confusing. Jack A. Rounick has the in-depth knowledge of the law and court system to help you enjoy the full benefit of legal protection. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to equality and legal protection of the innocent, which is demonstrated by the fact that he helped draft and pass the Pennsylvania Equal Rights Amendment. If you need help, call our office at 484-684-6055.