The Protection From Abuse Act provides strict protections to persons who experience abuse at the hands of a loved one or family member. PFA protections do not exist for casual relationships, but rather, for current or ex-spouses, family members related by blood or marriage, current or former sexual partners, and/or parents, legal guardians or adult household members of abused children.
If you are the victim of abuse, or if you fear for your own or a loved one’s safety, you may wonder if your situation qualifies for a PFA. The Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania explores what type of abuse PFAs cover.
Types of abuse covered by PFAs
Per Pennsylvania law, PFAs may only cover abuse or attempted abuse, such as the following:
- The instatement of false imprisonment through misrepresentation
- Knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury or bodily injury to a partner or loved one
- Raping, sexually assaulting, engaging in involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, engaging in incest, or inflicting indecent assault on a family member or intimate partner
- Sexually or physically abusing a minor child
- Causing a family member or loved one to reasonably fear for his or her safety
These are just a few acts that may qualify you for a PFA.
When a PFA is in place
If you qualify for a PFA against an abuser or aggressor, you may ask for a few different protections. The most obvious type of protection is the prohibition of harassment, abuse, stalking or threats from the subject of the order. You may also request that your new location or address remain confidential, that the abuser leave the home and/or that you get temporary custody of the children. The order may require that the subject of the order turn over any firearms or weapons and/or that he or she not be allowed near the victim’s place of employment and/or the children’s school.
Courts take petitions for PFAs seriously. However, for the best chances of obtaining protection, it is important that you produce ample evidence in support of your claim and that you fill out the petition accurately.