Murder-Suicides Show Domestic Violence Victims Need Early Protection

Posted by Joseph Lento | Mar 08, 2024 | 0 Comments

Last year, York County, Pennsylvania, reached a grim milestone of having an all-time high of murder-suicides. According to coroner Pam Gay, six murder-suicides claimed 14 lives in the county. This spate of shootings and stabbings has left behind shell-shocked communities and dozens of people in mourning. Coroner Gay says communities need to help prevent these kinds of deaths and ensure that domestic violence victims know help is available.

A Protection from Abuse (PFA) order, also known as a restraining order, is a crucial tool for protecting domestic violence victims. A PFA Order forbids the abuser from contacting, harassing, or approaching the victim in any way. The Family Law Team at the LLF Law firm is available to help you with domestic violence issues. Get the skilled and experienced representation you need for the best outcome. Call our legal team at 888-535-3686 or reach out to us online.

How Do Pennsylvania PFAs Work?

To receive the protections of a PFA, an abuse victim must first petition for a temporary PFA order at their local family court or local police station, detailing the type and instances of abuse. If a judge believes that abuse is likely to have occurred, they will issue a temporary order. From the moment the Order is signed, the petitioner is under its protection, and the alleged abuser must adhere to its constraints.

A temporary PFA stays in place until a final PFA hearing is held, usually about ten days. At the hearing, the petitioner and respondent each tell their stories along with supporting evidence of their position, although the petitioner carries the burden of proving the respondent was abusive. If the judge is convinced that the petitioner needs protection, they will issue a final PFA Order. The final Order lasts up to three years, but the petitioner can renew it at a new hearing.

What Kind of Protections Do PFAs Provide?

A temporary PFA prohibits the respondent from abusing, threatening, or harassing the plaintiff and anyone else covered by the PFA, such as children. It also bars the alleged abuser from contacting the victim, whether in person, by telephone, electronically, digitally, or even through family and friends. They will also be prohibited from entering the petitioner's home or workplace. Once the Order goes into effect, they may not return to the family home, even to collect their belongings.

To reduce the potential of gun violence, the Order also requires the respondent to turn in any firearms and ammunition they possess to the local authorities and may not buy more. The petitioner will also likely be granted temporary full custody of any children.

If the respondent violates the Order's terms, they will be arrested, fined for criminal contempt of court, or even jailed.

A final PFA Order typically continues the temporary PFA's terms. However, it may also require the respondent to pay for child and spousal support, medical or dental expenses related to the abuse, therapy, relocation, or moving expenses for the petitioner. They might also be ordered to repair or replace damaged property. The final Order will also include a final child custody decision. If the judge considers the alleged abuser a threat to the children's safety, the Order will prohibit the respondent from seeing or contacting the children.

Talk to an Experienced Pennsylvania Family Attorney

PFA orders have enormous long-term repercussions for the victims of violence and alleged abusers. If you seek a PFA or one has been filed against you, contact the skilled Family Law Team at the LLF Law Firm. 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.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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