Domestic Violence – Protection From Abuse
What is a Protection From Abuse Order?
A Protection from Abuse Order is a document that is signed by a judge and tells your abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences.
A PFA Order offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both women and men victims.
EMERGENCY PFA ORDERS
An Emergency PFA Order is only temporary, and will only remain in effect to protect you until 5:00pm on the next business day that Family Court is open. (Family Court is open Monday through Friday, excluding holidays).
If you need urgent protection when the courts are not open (such as on a weekend, late night or holiday), call your local police department to see which magisterial district judge is on-call. He/she may be able to grant you an emergency PFA order. An Emergency PFA order is only temporary, and will only remain in effect to protect you until 5:00pm on the next business day that Family Court is open. On the next day the Family Court is open, you have a chance to ask for an ex parte temporary PFA. “Ex parte” means that the judge will make this decision based only on the information you provide, without your abuser being present in court. If you do not go to court on the next business day to apply for the temporary PFA, your emergency order will expire.
When you ask the court for a PFA, a judge will give you an ex parte temporary PFA if he/she finds that you are in danger of further domestic abuse and need immediate protection. This temporary order will only last until your full court hearing when your abuser has an opportunity to attend court and present his/her information.
What to do with your Emergency PFA Order
You will be given 3 copies of the Emergency PFA Order.
- One copy is for you to keep.
- One copy is for you to give to the police department where you live.
- The third copy is for you to take to the police department where the defendant lives so that the police can serve the copy on the defendant.
If this Emergency PFA Order is violated, please immediately contact the police department where the violation occurred.
How to Apply for a More Permanent PFA Order
In order to apply for a more permanent PFA Order, you must report to Family Court between 8:30am and 3:00pm. Family Court is open Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Family Court is located at:
Family Division Court
Room 3030, 3rd Floor
440 Ross Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219