Some news outlets are reporting an increase in Domestic Violence calls to police since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the courts are closed to the public, victims of domestic violence can still obtain a Temporary PFA order. Temporary PFA’s have been deemed an essential function of the courts, thus the court’s must address them.
First and foremost, if your spouse if physically hurting you or you feel you are in immediate danger of being seriously physically harmed, call 911 immediately.
Second, in you live in Allegheny County, PA, follow these instructions as issued by the March 23, 2020 Amended Fifth Judicial District Emergency Operations Plan order of court as it relates to obtaining a Temporary PFA:
- Until further Order of Court, all Temporary Protection from Abuse matters will be handled at the Pittsburgh Municipal Court Building, 660 First Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Proceedings will be conducted using Advanced Communication Technology.
- Temporary Protection from Abuse Petitions will be handled between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M Monday through Friday.
- Emergency Protection from Abuse petitions will be handled from 2:00 P.M. until 8:00 A.M. Monday through Friday and 24 hours Saturday and Sunday.
- Final Protection from Abuse Hearings are suspended until further Order of Court. Temporary Orders for Protection from Abuse shall remain in effect until fifteen (15) days after the end of the judicial emergency unless otherwise indicated in the Temporary Order.
- Until further Order of Court, Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC) Complaints will not be accepted by private petition.
- ICC Police Complaints will be accepted, and bail hearings will be held before a Magisterial District Judge using Advanced Communication Technology. If a defendant is detained, a bail hearing shall be held before the Judge assigned to hear the Temporary PFA Petitions.
- Hearings on ICC Complaints are suspended until further Order of Court.
- Effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, Monday through Friday between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. please call (412) 350-1500 for questions concerning Protection from Abuse.
If you live in Washington County, PA, it is our understanding that the procedure for obtaining a Temporary PFA has not changed. Visit the Washington County Courthouse PFA page for more information, including the phone number for the PFA office if you have questions:
If you have questions about obtaining a Temporary PFA during the COVID-19 pandemic, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.