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Family Law Blog

What’s the Difference Between a Restraining Order and a PFA?

Published: Nov 08, 2017 in Protection From Abuse (PFA), Restraining Orders

Written by Anthony Piccirilli

A Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order is a Pennsylvania court order that allows for you to seek temporary relief from someone who is causing you abuse. This can be considered a type of restraining order, and many people use these terms interchangeably. If a PFA is not ideal for your case, the courts can provide you with a different type of restraining order that can best protect you and your loved ones. If you feel that you are in danger of abuse from another person, it is very important to seek an appropriate restraining order as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can make sure that you quickly receive the appropriate help you need to stay safe.

If you would like to discuss how a lawyer can help you seek a PFA or other restraining order, contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC to speak with an experienced protection order lawyer today. Call today at (412) 471-5100.

Is a Protection From Abuse Order Right for You?

If you have been abused in a domestic setting, or if you are in serious danger of abuse, you can seek a court-ordered PFA. While this does not itself create a criminal case against your abuser, it can be sought while you’re seeking a criminal charge, or it can precede charges being filed. PFAs act as temporary or permanent long-term restraining orders. Protection from Abuse orders are meant to serve victims who are experiencing domestic violence, and for that reason, a PFA is limited to protect a victim from one of the following persons:

  • Someone who lives in the alleged victim’s home
  • A family member
  • A current or former sexual or intimate partner
  • Someone with whom the victim has a child with

If you are seeking a PFA, a judge will review your case after you file a petition. When determining if your petition should be granted, the judge will hear your position only, and then determine if a temporary protection order should be granted to protect you from abuse. Your PFA lawyer can help properly file your petition, and assist you during your hearing. Each protection order is unique, and the judge can assign a variety of terms to your protection order if it is granted. Among other things, a PFA can require that your abuser:

Other Restraining Order Alternatives

A Protection from Abuse order can be of great help to you and your family if you need a quick solution for abuse that you are experiencing. However, a PFA is limited since it can only be filed against an abuser who has a domestic relationship with you. Many times people suffer abuse from a coworker, classmate, or complete stranger. Pennsylvania’s Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation (PSVI) law offers solutions for people in these situations. Through a PSVI application, a judge can grant you one of the following:

  • Sexual Violence Protection Order (SVPO). This order can be granted to protect you from a non-family or non-domestic relation, such as a co-worker or even a complete stranger. It is applicable if you have been subjected to physical sexual violence, or non-physical intimidation that can be considered to be sexual in nature. An SVPO can be granted to adults and minors.
  • Protection From Intimidation Order (PFIO). This order is for minors who are victims of stalking or harassment from someone whose age is 18 years or older. A PFIO is often needed if the victim is being harassed by a coach, teacher, adult acquaintance, or even a complete stranger.

Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC Can Help You

It is important to seek legal help immediately if you are being harassed or abused. Seeking a restraining order requires filing and being present at a hearing, and an experienced lawyer can help you succeed in using this process to help protect you and your family. Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC has years of experience helping people navigate domestic and family law issues, and we can make sure that you receive the appropriate protective order for your case.

If you would like to speak with a skilled family lawyer about abuse or harassment that you have suffered, contact us today. Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100.