On November 14th, a new renters law protecting DV victims was unanimously approved by Pittsburgh's City Council. Triblive.com reported on the legislation, explaining that it allows DV victims to exit leases early without penalties. Should the tenant choose to stay in the lease, landlords are also required to change locks free of charge within five days of being asked to do so. Tenants must continue to pay rent and demonstrate proof of the violence through court documentation, protection from abuse orders, medical records, mental health records, and documents from social workers or victim advocates.
Although the helpful law targets the housing crisis many DV victims face while attempting to leave their abuser, victims are still required to take initial steps to gather the necessary documentation to prove the abuse. If you are being emotionally, psychologically, or physically abused and threatened and need help getting a PFA order, our LLF Family Law Team can help. Contact us today at 888-535-3686 or by utilizing our online form.
Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania
According to 2020 data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 37.1% of women and 30% of men in Pennsylvania experience intimate partner physical violence. Put in another way, around 1,045 calls to law enforcement or helplines alleging domestic violence are made every hour in the state.
The state defines Domestic violence within Section 6102 of the state's criminal code as abusive acts between members of the same family, members of the same household, sexual or intimate partners, or co-parents. Domestic violence can also include willful intimidation, behavior that falls within a systematic pattern of control, sexual violence, and emotional or psychological abuse.
Protection From Abuse Orders
In Pennsylvania, restraining orders for domestic violence victims are referred to as Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders. Although the exact orders will vary from case to case, PFA orders typically limit the defendant, such as prohibiting them from contacting the victim(s), approaching or entering their residence, and being present in or around their workplace or schools.
PFA orders are first granted temporarily for ten days until a more comprehensive court hearing for a final order can occur. Finalized order hearings are thorough and consist of evidence, testimony, and argument in court. If the court agrees to grant a “finalized” order, the order will remain in effect for three years with the ongoing option to petition to renew the order.
Contact a PFA Attorney Today
If you are a victim of domestic violence and are taking the first steps of researching safe housing and/or protection from abuse orders, you should be incredibly proud of yourself! The hardest part about leaving an abusive relationship is deciding to take the first step. Our compassionate LLF Family Law Team is available to help you understand the next steps. Contact us today for a confidential consultation by calling 888-535-3686 or by using our online contact form.