Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse Act originally passed in 1976 and was one of the first legislative acts in the nation designed to provide comprehensive civil remedies to victims of domestic violence. While originally passed in 1976 it was amended in 1978 and 1988 and then repealed and replaced at Title 23 in 1990. It was been amended several times since then, most recently in 2006.
The Protection From Abuse Act allows people in specified relationships to petition the court for a wide range of civil relief upon a showing of abuse. “Abuse” is defined by Title 23 for purposes of applying for a civil protection order as follows:
- Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon.
- Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
- The infliction of false imprisonment pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. section 2903.
- Physically or sexually abusing minor children.
- Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.
Standing to petition for an PFA order pursuant to the Act is limited to people who are in specified relationships that include:
- “Family or household members”, defined as spouses or persons who have been spouses, persons living as spouses or who lived as spouses, parents and children, and other persons related by consanguinity or affinity;
- Current or former sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.
A person in an eligible relationship who has experienced “abuse” may file a petition with the court requesting any of the following statutory remedies:
- Prohibition of abuse,
- Exclusive possession of a jointly owned or leased residence,
- Temporary custody or visitation with respect to minor children,
- Financial support
- Prohibition from contact with the plaintiff or children,
- Relinquishment of weapons,
- Payment for reasonable losses suffered as a result of the abuse, in addition to attorney fees,
- Prohibition of stalking or harassment,
- Any other appropriate relief.
If you or someone you love has been named as a defendant in a Protection From Abuse action it is no laughing matter. Contact an experienced attorney at the Law Office of John E. Kusturiss, Jr., P.L.L.C. to discuss your case and the possible resolutions we can negotiate on your behalf.
Don’t face criminal charges alone, contact the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr. online or call (610) 565-0240 today!