SafeNet, a domestic violence agency that provides emergency shelter for abuse victims in Erie, PA, recently noted that it saw an increase in men and families using their shelter to escape abusive relationships in 2022-2023. Men are often overlooked as victims of domestic abuse. Yet, one in four men in the U.S. will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition on Domestic Violence.
No one should have to suffer domestic violence, no matter their gender. Men who experience abuse should feel encouraged to seek help and protect themselves and their families with tools such as a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order. The Family Law Team at the LLF Law firm stands ready to assist both women and men with domestic violence issues. If you need help, call our experienced legal team at 888-535-3686 or reach out to us online.
What Is a PFA?
A PFA order is a legal tool meant to protect victims of domestic violence. Family court judges will grant it to individuals who have sought protection from abuse or the threat of abuse from a household member, co-parent, or family member. The order prohibits the alleged abuser from abusing, threatening to abuse, stalking, or harassing the victim or face criminal charges, financial penalties, and jail time.
How to Obtain a PFA?
An individual can obtain a PFA by submitting a petition through their local family court or police department if the court is closed. The petitioner should describe in detail the most recent incident of abuse the alleged abuser has inflicted upon the petitioner or any other members of the household, including children and pets. The petitioner may also describe the alleged abuser's prior history of abuse or violence and any other PFAs that may have been filed against them.
If the family court judge is persuaded that the petitioner needs immediate protection, they will issue a temporary PFA. This order remains in effect until the final PFA hearing, usually within ten days. Both the plaintiff and defendant will have the opportunity to present their sides of the story at the final hearing. However, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant abused them. The judge presiding over the final hearing will determine whether to issue a permanent PFA order, which will last for up to three years.
What Are the terms of a PFA?
A temporary PFA order demands that an alleged abuser cease abusing and harassing the plaintiff, as well as cease all contact with the plaintiff, whether in-person, digitally, electronically, or by mail. The alleged abuser usually must also immediately leave the family home, relinquish custody of the children, refrain from entering the victim's workplace, and hand over their firearms and ammunition to the local authorities. The order may also direct the alleged abuser to pay child and spousal support.
A permanent PFA order may continue and expand upon these terms.
Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Family Attorney
A PFA order is a critical tool in an abuse victim's arsenal. Abused men have as much a right to a PFA as any other abuse victim. If you seek a PFA or have been wrongfully accused of abuse, contact the experienced LLF Law Firm Family Law Team. We have helped numerous families reach the best possible outcome in PFA situations and can help you, too. Contact the LLF Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or schedule an appointment online.