Protection From Abuse Order
Obtaining a Protection From Abuse Order
A Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) is a restraining order. In order to petition the court for a PFA, you must be, or have been, in a relationship with or a family member of the person against whom you want to file. Under the Protection From Abuse Act, abuse is defined as physical abuse, a threat which places you in immediate fear of physical injury, or a pattern of conduct which places you in immediate fear of physical injury.
Emergency & Temporary Protection From Abuse Orders
If at any time you feel you are in danger, dial 9-1-1. Law enforcement will assist you in obtaining an emergency protection order after normal business hours.
An emergency order can be issued by a district justice after 3 p.m. on a business day or when the Court of Common Pleas is closed. An emergency order is in effect until the end of the next business day of the Court of Common Pleas. You must report to the Court of Common Pleas to have a temporary order issued.
A temporary order stays in effect until the hearing for the final PFA is held. You will need to report to the Court Administration Office Room 208 on the second floor of the courthouse at 102 South Allegheny Street in Bellefonte. Here you will be given a petition to apply for a Temporary Order. This process can take anywhere from two to three hours. Once the petition is completed the clerk must type it into the computer system. The clerks will then print out the temporary order and take it to a judge for his review. If after review, the judge signs the order, granting temporary protection, the court administration staff will provide you with further instructions regarding who needs to have copies of the order. (Copies are provided to you at the time the petition is granted.) Your case will be scheduled for a Final PFA hearing within 10 days of the issuance of the temporary order.
Women's Resource Center
The Centre County Women's Resource Centre can also assist you in obtaining a Protection From Abuse Order as well as other valuable services. To contact the center call their 24-hour hotline at (814) 234-5050 or toll free in Pennsylvania (877) 234-5050.