For Crisis and Counseling services for victims of domestic violence please contact the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline 1-866-SAFE-014
What is a Protection from Abuse Order?
A restraining order. Under the Protection from Abuse Act, you have the right to go to court and ask a judge for a protection from abuse order (often called a PFA order) forcing your abuser to leave you alone. The court order may include any of the following:
Am I eligible for a Protection from Abuse Order?
The Protection from Abuse Act focuses on preventing abuse between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners, or persons who have children together. You are eligible if such a person:
How do I obtain a Protection from Abuse Order?
You can file for a Protection from Abuse Orders at the following location and times:
I have a Protection from Abuse Order and it has been violated. What do I do?
Call 911 immediately and report the violation. Once the police arrive at your location, you may be asked to show a copy of the protection order so keep a copy with you at all times. Pennsylvania State Police and Philadelphia Police keep a record of all active protection orders, so the officer may need to confirm that your order is valid before making an arrest.
NOTE: Police will NOT evict your abuser unless your order specifically states "eviction."
I received a Stay Away Order in court. Is that the same thing as a Protection from Abuse Order?
No. Stay Away Orders are temporary, are issued by Judges, and are only good for 1 year or until your case is resolved. Additionally, Stay Away Orders are not entered into the police computer system. For a permanent Protection from Abuse Order, you must go to 34 South 11th Street and file for a Protection from Abuse Order. All active protection orders are recognized by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Philadelphia Police.
I am the victim in a domestic violence case and I want to drop charges. How do I drop charges?
The decision to file and/or drop charges in criminal cases is that of the District Attorney's Office. As the victim, your request will be considered, but the final decision to drop criminal charges is made only by the District Attorney's Office
For more information please refer to the Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse section.