If you are being abused at home or subjected to physical, emotional, or sexual violence, you may also be able to seek a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order to keep the abuser out of your home. With the coronavirus closings, the courts are still open for emergency orders, which can include emergency PFA hearings.
According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, “emergency protection from abuse orders (PFAs) are essential functions and will move forward during this pandemic”
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf placed all of Pennsylvania under stay-at-home orders, effective April 1st. The order will remain in place until April 30th, subject to extensions or changes. The move is intended to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the Commonwealth. However, keeping some people at home may be putting them in more danger.
Breaking Stay-at-Home Orders for a PFA Hearing
The stay-at-home orders allow for essential travel to maintain health and safety of the family or household members. Other allowable activities include:
- Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members,
- Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running, subject to social distancing,
- To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business,
- To care for a family member or pet in another household, and
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
Leaving an abusive household is essential to maintaining your own health and safety. A number of shelters and hotlines for victims of abuse remain open and available during the stay-at-home orders. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has resources available for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
Emergency Protection Orders During Coronavirus Outbreak
An emergency PFA can be used to keep an abuser out of your household, evict an abuser, or keep the abuser from contacting you and your family. A PFA may also require a person to temporarily hand over any weapons they own or prohibit the subject from buying new weapons.
Emergency Protection from Abuse Orders may still be heard by the courts. However, temporary and final PFAs may be put on hold until April. The courts may determine that they will hold a hearing, subject to in-person appearance limitations. Make sure you talk to your lawyer about whether an upcoming hearing is delayed, rescheduled, or will go forward with a phone or videoconference appearance.
Pennsylvania Attorney to File PFA Orders During COVID-19
A stay-at-home order should not leave you in harm's way. During these challenging times, victims and their children may be more vulnerable to abuse. Pennsylvania attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped clients statewide for many years with seeking protection.
Having your voice heard in this challenging time is critical and the Lento Law firm can help. Contact Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.