what is protection abuse orders (PFA)

When you experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse it’s horrifying. As difficult as it might seem, it’s essential you reach out for help. Whether or not you’re bringing criminal charges, the Protection from Abuse Act says you can achieve some safety from your abuser.

Laws specifically state that the following constitute abuse:

Trying to cause harm with or without a weapon

Causing physical harm

Sexual assault

Physical abuse of minors

Rape

Putting someone in fear for their life

Stalking

Repeatedly causing physical injury or creating an atmosphere of fear

Limiting a person’s movements

What are Protection Abuse Orders (PFA)?

Protection Abuse order is created by a judge who orders specific conditions of behavior. Under PFAs you must follow the dictates given. You may have to remain at a certain distance from someone, or not contact them, for example. Basically, a PTA says the court believes someone has endangered you or committed an offense requiring your protection. 

Can I file for a PFA?

It is important to understand your rights when put in such a difficult position. While Voloshen Law Firm, PC, often deals with deportation defense in Buck’s County, PA, that is only one part of a far greater picture. In this instance, we are prepared to help you determine what steps to take, as well as take responsibility for gathering all the necessary items to move a PFA forward. 

To File for a PFA you must be an adult and have some form of relationship with the abuser. Relations include family, spouse, inlaws, children, and intimate partners (both past and present). There is no requirement for you to have lived with the abuser. 

Judges can order temporary orders of protection without the abuser being present. The final hearing takes place within 10 days. In Philadelphia, PA, the courts are closed on nights, weekends, and holidays. Should an emergency order be required, the Magisterial District Justice, a bail commissioner, or a master for emergency relief can step in. 

You can also call the National Domestic Abuse hotline 24 hours a day for assistance. 

Types of Protection Afforded with PFAs

 The lawyers at Voloshen Law will discuss your situation with you in detail. From those discussions and the Judge’s reviews, your protection can take several forms including:

  • Cease and desist orders
  • Custody and visitation rights outlined
  • Eviction of the abuser
  • Financial compensation from the abuser for financial losses directly incurred from the abuse
  • Orders against stalking
  • Restraining order stating the abuser cannot come to your residence, your school, your workplace, etc. 

Completed orders go on the Pennsylvania State Police Registry for enforcement should the need arise. Should you require protection in another state, you can provide the court and policy with a certified copy of your final PFA.

How Long do PFAs Last?

Emergency orders are only good until the court is back in session. Temporary orders last for about 10 days until such time when a final hearing takes place.  The final order can stretch over 36 months, with the option for extension. Should circumstances change, you can resend your request. 

Getting Assistance 

Having an impartial party like Voloshen Law Firm, PC, overseeing your rights helps greatly, especially under such emotional circumstances. We offer remote consultations, should you wish. You can also contact our offices by phone at 215-437-7854.