The Protection From Abuse Act (PFA) was a civil law passed to protect victims from their abusers. It allows victims of crimes such as physical abuse, sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, and stalking to file an order of protection against the offender. If the court approves the request, the offender is legally obligated to comply with the terms.
However, in many situations, wrongful orders are issued against a person. The consequences of an order are severe, and a person may lose their housing, children, and career. The law allows the offender to defend themselves in court. Defending against a protection from abuse order is complex, and you require the experience of an experienced attorney.
When should a person file a protection from abuse order?
- Physical abuse.
When an individual inflicts force on another person with the intention to harm them and causes bodily injuries, it is considered to be physical abuse. It may also involve the use of a weapon.
- Sexual assault.
The intentional act of performing sexual acts on a person or forcing them to engage in sexual acts without their consent is considered to be sexual assault. Rape is a form of sexual assault that involves non-consensual sexual intercourse.
- Domestic violence.
Domestic violence involves the physical, psychological, sexual, and/or economic abuse against a person with whom the offender is in a domestic setting. Domestic settings include cohabitation and marriage.
Stalking is when a person harasses another by monitoring them without their consent. It is done to intimidate the victim and invoke fear in them.
Who is eligible to file a protection from abuse order?
- An adult member of the household or an adult guardian on behalf of a child.
- The petitioner must have one of the following relations with the abuser:
- Relation by bloodline.
- Relation by marriage.
- Biological parents of the child.
- Current or past “intimate” partners.
What are some ways the victim is protected by the order?
- The order prevents the abuse from occurring again.
- Eviction of the abuser from the house.
- The abuser may also be ordered to stay away from you, your house, and your workplace.
- Determine child custody and visitation rights.
- Prohibit the abuser from acquiring or possessing firearms and relinquish existing ones.
- Order them to pay restitution for your losses because of the abuse.
The violation of a protection from abuse order has drastic consequences. It may lead to criminal contempt charges, imprisonment, fines, loss of employment and professional license, and damage to reputation. You must contact a protection from abuse attorney to help you take the right steps after being notified that you face protection from abuse orders.