Family Law Unit

Protection from Abuse

Violence at home happens between couples, parents and children, and other family relationships in all communities and far too often.

Violence can look like physical assault and intimidation, sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, stalking or the threat of any of these.   

 A Protection from Abuse Order, often called a PFA, is a paper that is signed by a judge and tells an abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. A Protection from Abuse Order can say that your abuser must: 

  • Stay away from you, your work, school, and home,
  • Not bother you or your children,
  • Move out of your home, even if they own it,
  • Give you Temporary custody order,
  • Make the abuser pay for child support, and
  • Reimburse you for any financial loss as a result of the abuse.

In addition to Protection from Abuse Order, there are two other orders including Protection from Sexual Violence Order (PSVO) and Protection from Intimidation Order (PFI).

  • PSVO is for survivors of sexual violence against their abuser who is not a family member or former or current intimate partner. 
  • PFIs are for minors filing against adults who have harassed or stalked them.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance helps survivors of violence file for and obtain Protection from Abuse Orders. We do not assist PFA defendants in their PFA defense. 

If you wish to file a Protection Order immediately, call the DV Filing Unit at 215.686.6311 ext. 19217 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. If you want more information or assistance, please contact our hotline! 

Intake Process

Family Law Hotline

Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 215-981-3838

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