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.
Annotated PFA Act for Legal Professionals
View Annotated PFA Act
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