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Know what qualifies as abuse under the PFA

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2020 | criminal law

According to the National Coalition on Domestic Violence, 27.5% of men in Pennsylvania and 37.7% of women experience some form of abuse from an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Examples of abuse include stalking, sexual violence or physical violence. 

The Protection From Abuse Act allows you to seek a restraining order against a family or household member who has committed violence or abuse against you. These orders can be either temporary or permanent and prevent the individual from having any contact with you. It is important for you to understand what qualifies as abuse under the act and whom the law applies to. 

Acts that qualify as abuse 

Essentially, acts that cause you bodily injury, or put you in fear of it, qualify as abuse under the PFA. This includes rape and other forms of sexual violence. It also includes statutory sexual assault of a minor as well as physical or sexual abuse of children. False imprisonment also qualifies as abuse under the PFA. 

People whom the law applies to 

It is important to note that, although the law refers specifically to family and household members, it also applies to past or present intimate partners even if the two of you have never lived together. This is also true if you have a child with this person. The PFA applies to immediate family members, including children, parents and siblings. It also includes members of your extended family regardless of whether the relation is through blood or marriage. Most particularly, it applies to spouses and domestic partners, whether current or former.