Select A Language

Restraining Orders

The COVID-19 public health crisis is impacting court operations in Pennsylvania. Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders are still being issued but in most cases, county court operations and hours have been altered (this will vary by county). If you are in need of a PFA, please contact your county court in advance to learn how their hours and procedures have been impacted.

For more information regarding the COVID-19 crisis, please visit our resources page.

COVID-19 Resources

Through our member programs, PCADV works to help victims get legal protection from abuse, which can include obtaining a PFA (also known as a restraining order). Our member programs work in every county to provide domestic violence victims and families with emergency shelter, housing options and other services to help victims gain safety and independence.

Restraining orders can provide protective “relief” to a victim for up to three years.

How to Get a Restraining Order

How Can A Domestic Violence Advocate Help?

Advocates can help victims fill out a PFA petition or go with the victim to court. Advocates can give victims information about the county PFA process and help victims make a safety plan.

A defendant who violates a PFA order can be arrested and charged with a crime called indirect criminal contempt. The victim may be asked to testify about the violation at a court hearing. If the court finds the defendant guilty of violating the PFA order, the court can give jail time, probation, and/or fines.

Even though the police may arrest and charge an abuser for indirect criminal contempt, the abuser may be released before the hearing. Victims should consider talking to a domestic violence advocate about steps to take to stay safe.

Find Your Local Domestic Violence Program

Annotated PFA Act for Legal Professionals

View Annotated PFA Act

PCADV Resource

Webinar PFAs and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

For court of common pleas judges, law clerks and court staff, advocates The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides for the temporary suspension of civil legal proceedings that may adversely affect the rights of active duty military service members. Christine Zellar Church, Associate Dean, Western Michigan University, Cooley Law School, explores the SCRA and its impact on PFA proceedings.

  • Learn the history and purpose of the SCRA
  • Consider policies and procedures the court can adopt that will protect the rights of military active duty servicemembers and plaintiffs involved in Protection From Abuse proceedings
  • Briefly review the impact that the SCRA has on custody proceedings

Watch Webinar