A Protection from Abuse (PFA) order is a court order that makes it a crime for the alleged abuser to contact the protected persons, either directly or indirectly. They are designed to keep the protected persons from harm in a domestic violence situation. If you believe that you need a PFA each county court in PA has provisions for assisting you. Often, however, particularly if custody or other non-PFA issues are involved, it is wise to consult an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. If you are the alleged abuser and a temporary PFA has been obtained against you, there are no provisions made by the court to assist you. Appearing in court without a lawyer to defend a PFA proceeding is ill-advised.
What does a PFA order do?
A PFA order is a court order that one person cannot contact or come near another person. If someone violates a PFA, the police can arrest that person and hold them in jail for a short period of time. It can also order the abuser to surrender his/her firearms.
Who can get a PFA?
Someone who is being abused can get a PFA against their abuser, if their abuser is a household or family member, former or current sexual or intimate partners, or persons who share biological parenthood.
What is considered abuse?
If someone causes bodily injury, sexually abuses another, or places another person in fear of the occurrence of either of those things, that is abuse for the purposes of a PFA.
Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh: http://www.wcspittsburgh.org/
Allegheny County Bar Association Domestic Violence Resource Guide: http://www.acba.org/ACBA/Members/YLD-MVP/Veteran-Info/Domestic-Violence.asp
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence: http://www.pcadv.org/