Bucks County Family Law

Protection from Abuse (PFA)

Protection from Abuse (PF…

Family members and romantic relationships usually result in a supportive environment. The people involved generally help and support one another. Sadly, this is not always the case.

Either a family member or a romantic partner may become violent or behave in an abusive manner. In these situations, Pennsylvania has codified a few legal remedies to help those victims. If you are one such victim, an attorney can help you obtain one of these protections.

As an attorney specialized in Pennsylvania family law and as a survivor of domestic violence herself, Lauren D’Alessandro understands the various aspects of these legal protections and the negotiating tactics necessary to either obtain or defend against one of these remedies. Lauren has negotiated numerous protection orders and will use that experience to assist you. Contact her to schedule an appointment and take the first step to obtaining legal protection from your abuser.

Pennsylvania Protection From abuse Act

The first legal protection available for victims of domestic abuse is codified under the Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act. Individuals are protected from certain kinds of abuse by people are related to the abuser either as a family or household member, a sexual or intimate partner, or as someone who shares biological parenthood. The types of abuse specified under the act are as follows:

  1. Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon
  2. Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury
  3. False imprisonment
  4. Physically or sexually abusing minor children
  5. 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

If the victim is a minor, any parent, adult household member, or guardian ad litem may request relief on the minor’s behalf.

Temporary Protection Orders

When seeking relief, a client is often given a hearing date. However, this date may not be immediate. This can leave a victim in a vulnerable position as they don’t have a protection order in place but are still at risk for further abuse. To rectify the situation, judges may, but are not required, to enter a temporary protection order. This order usually lasts until a scheduled hearing date.

A hearing can result in several outcomes. Often, but not always, both parties come to an agreement. The agreement can involve a variety of terms and stipulations. An attorney can help negotiate such arrangements. Alternatively, the parties are not able to come to an agreement and a hearing is held. In these situations, having an attorney at the hearing to either advocate for or defend against the protection from abuse complaint is crucial. Without an attorney, the individual has a very real risk of an adverse outcome at the hearing.

Pennsylvania Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act

The other two legal remedies are codified under the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act. The first is a Sexual Violence Protection Order. The second is a Protection From Intimidation Order.

Sexual Violence Protection Orders

Sexual Violence Protection Orders are designed to protect victims from further acts of sexual abuse. These orders are similar to a protection from abuse order. However, there are a few key differences. Sexual Violence Protection Orders are only available in situations involving sexual abuse. In exchange for that limitation, they are available to a wider range of victims. Anyone who is a victim of sexual violence and is at risk for further sexual abuse may file for it.

Protection From Intimidation Orders

Protection From Intimidation Orders are available in situations involving harassment or stalking. These orders are also applicable to fewer forms of abuse than a Protection From Abuse Order. As with Sexual Violence Protection Orders, though, more victims are able to file for it. The abuser and victim do not have to the same kinds of household, familial, or sexual relationship as enumerated under the Protection From Abuse Act. The victim must be under 18 and the perpetrator must be an adult, however.

Hiring an Attorney Matters

Regardless of the area of family law you are litigating, hiring an attorney experienced in abuse cases who also specializes in family law is crucial. Attorney Lauren D’Alessandro represents clients in Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Her office is located in Newtown and she invites you to contact her to schedule a consultation. You can contact her here. She looks forward to hearing from you!

Lauren D’Alessandro

Lauren Anthony D'Alessandro's Profile Image
Lauren is located in Newtown, Pennsylvania and provides legal services for Bucks County, Philadelphia County, and Montgomery County. She specializes in family law and provides services for a whole range of family law matters. Whether you are seeking…

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