Important Protections from Domestic Abuse in Philadelphia County

If you are being abused in your home, there are protections in Philadelphia County that can help keep you safe and out of harm’s way. The law offers Protection From Abuse Orders (PFA) to ensure the safety of residents.

What is Abuse?

Abuse can be defined in many ways but the law has a simple view on the matter. The definition covers attempting or causing bodily injury, placing someone in fear of bodily injury, sexual assault, false imprisonment, and stalking. Each of these categories is taken very seriously in Philadelphia County.

How Can I Be Protected?

A PFA can help those in a dangerous situation have protection from their abuser. This order directs the defendant:

  • To not abuse, threaten, or stalk the claimant.
  • To stay away from the residence of the claimant, even if they share a residence. The defendant will have to find other arrangements.
  • Avoid the claimant’s school, work, and other places they frequent out of necessity.
  • Turn all weapons over to the police.

These orders can also give other protection. Other possible options in these orders include:

  • Temporary child custody and support.
  • Payments for losses that came as a result of the abuse.
  • Fees for counsel.

How Long is a PFA Good For?

A PFA can last as long as 36 months, but can be extended for additional time after the petition is filed and a hearing has been held.

Who Can Get a PFA?

A PFA Order can be made available to anyone who has been abused. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • A current or former spouse.
  • Intimate partner.
  • Relatives by blood or marriage.

What Do I Do in an Emergency?

Help is available even when the Family Court is closed. A PFA order can be made at the Criminal Justice Center on Filbert Street in Philadelphia. There is no fee to file an order. When a petition is approved, a master will issue an emergency order that will last until 5 p.m. on the following day that Family Court is open to giving residents protection.

Who Can File?

In order to file for a PFA order in Philadelphia County, the plaintiff must live or be employed in the country, or the abuse must have occurred in the county, or the defendant may be served in the country.

Prepare for the Hearing

The first step is to find good legal representation. At Wallace Law, we take these types of hearings seriously. We understand the emotional turmoil that comes from abuse and will advocate on your behalf to ensure your safety.

You will be expected to testify about the facts in the petition and are encouraged to bring written evidence, such as medical records or photos of injury, along as witnesses to the events. Our attorneys will coach you through these things and help prepare you to the best of your ability for your hearing. Contact us today to find out how we can help.