Unfortunately, in the search for love and companionship, many people become involved in abusive relationships. I'm sure every one of us knows someone who has been in a situation like this and thinks, "If that were me, I'd get myself out of that relationship in a heartbeat." Sadly, it isn't always that simple and leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult considering the abused party may be afraid of what the abuser could do if he/she attempts to leave. If you were in an abusive relationship and wanted to get protection from your abuser, would you know where to start?
Pennsylvania law includes the Protection from Abuse Act. This Act gives the courts the power to enter an order preventing an abuser from any and all contact with his/her victim, defines who may petition the court for protection, and defines what behaviors constitute abuse. First, the Act sets forth who can obtain a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA). If you and the abuser are living under the same household, are sexual or intimate partners, or are persons that have a child together, you may obtain a PFA against that person if he/she is abusing you.
Next, the Act defines abuse. Abuse, according to the Act, casts a wide net and includes a vast array of behaviors. In short, if a person attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes you bodily harm or sexually assaults you, you may seek a PFA against your abuser. In addition, if another person causes you to reasonably fear that he/she is going to harm you or falsely imprisons you, you are entitled to a PFA against that person. Finally, if a person engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward you (such as following you) that place you in reasonable fear of bodily injury, the court could grant a PFA against the abuser.
If someone in your life is abusing you in any of the above ways, it might be time to seek legal protection against him/her. Contact my Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, for help. Typically, abusive behavior does not change and only worsens with time. Seeking an attorney to help guide you through the PFA process and ensure that you have the protection you need can be extremely helpful.