PROTECTION FROM ABUSE
The Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Act allows domestic abuse victims to remove the abusive person from the home quickly and legally. This act encompasses many types of domestic abuse, including: attempt to cause bodily injury, threats of physical violence, sexual assault, rape, stalking and harassment, and child abuse. The abuse must occur between family or household members, intimate partners, or persons sharing parenthood. The abuser can be a male or female.
Immediate protection is critical in an abusive situation. The following steps outline the process for obtaining protection under this act:
1) The victim must file a petition to obtain a restraining order against the abusive party.
2) A Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) is issued. As this point, the abusive party must immediately cease all contact with the victim and leave the home.
3) Within ten days of the PFA issuance, a hearing is held to determine the validity of the victim’s claim. The PFA can be extended to a maximum of three years, at the judge’s discretion.
- You may be granted possession of your home, and your abuser may be ordered to pay your rent or mortgage.
- The PFA may prevent the abuser from contacting your children, or temporarily award custody to you.
- The abuser may have to surrender firearms and weapons to the police to ensure your safety.
- Other costs, such as medical bills, insurance, counseling, or attorney fees resulting from the abuse may have to be paid by the abusive person.