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Protection from Abuse – What you need to know!

If you or a loved one are involved in an abusive relationship, the Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Act is there to ensure your safety. This civil law allows you, in conjunction with any criminal charges you may bring, a means of protecting you and your family through the courts. But what exactly does a PFA order do, and how do you obtain one? This short guide will provide you with some answers.

What is considered abuse?

According to the Protection from Abuse Act, abuse occurs if one or more of the following acts occur:

  1. Causing or attempting to cause physical harm with or without a weapon
  2. Involuntary sexual assault
  3. Physical or Sexual abuse of a minor
  4. When you are placed in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury
  5. Infliction of false imprisonment
  6. Following a person around without proper authority which places them in fear of bodily injury (stalking)

You may file for a PFA if you are an adult or a guardian acting on behalf of a minor in which there exists a relationship with the abuser. A relationship occurs where the victim and the abuser are related by either marriage (spouse, in-laws, etc.), related by blood (parent, child, siblings, etc), is the parent of your child, or are a current/former sexual or intimate partner.

What is the process?

Legal papers can be filed at your local courthouse. Upon filing the court forms, you may go before a judge and ask the court for a temporary protection order. If the Judge believes you are being abused or being in danger of abuse, he will issue an order instructing the abuser to cease his harmful behavior. Thereafter, a hearing will be set within ten (10) days on which the court will issue a final ruling on the protection order. If abuse is found, the court can order remedies including, ordering the abuse to stop, evicting the abuser, awarding temporary custody of a child, forcing the abuser to surrender weapons, and ordering the abuser to stay away from you.

The Lawyers at Sebelin & Sebelin, P.C. have dealt with countless PFA actions across North Eastern Pennsylvania. If you need help securing protection for you or your family, contact immediately at (610)-379-4499.

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