• Serving Clients in
    Pittsburgh and Across
    Western Pennsylvania
  • Helping families resolve
    their differences while
    protecting my clients
    best interests
  • Standing up for the rights of
    my clients and their children
  • Understanding and Support
    Through Your Divorce
  • Supportive representation
    aggressively pursuing justice

Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act

Protection from Abusive Family and Past Partners in Pennsylvania

Protection from Abuse (PFA) matters in Pennsylvania are governed by the “Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act” found at 23 PA.C.S.A. §§ 6101-61118, as amended. Upon the showing of abuse, one can obtain a PFA against any family member, current or past sexual partner, current or past intimate partner and/or any person who shares biological parenthood. Upon the showing of abuse, a PFA can be entered for up to three years and can include multiple forms or relief, such as (not exclusively) precluding a defendant from having any contact with a victim, the exclusion from a victim’s residence, place of employment, school or anywhere else a victim is found. Further, a PFA can award a spouse temporary possession of a marital residence, temporary custody and temporary child support.

How does Pennsylvania Define Abuse

Section 6102 of the PFA Statute defines “abuse” as follows: The occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood:

  1. Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon.
  2. Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
  3. The infliction of false imprisonment pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 2903 (relating to false imprisonment).
  4. Physically or sexually abusing minor children.
  5. Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. The definition of this paragraph applies only to proceedings commenced under this title and is inapplicable to any criminal prosecutions commenced under Title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses).

Get Help from an Attorney Experienced with PFA

A PFA in and of itself is not “criminal” in nature but the violation of a PFA can lead to the criminal charge of Indirect Criminal Contempt being filed, which can result in incarceration for up to six months, along with other appropriate relief determined by the Court.

For a more in depth explanation of the PFA laws, your rights, options and possible consequences, please contact our office (412) 662-0198 to schedule a free initial consultation.


  • Knowledgeable and Helpful

    Greg was very helpful in explaining all information, including options that were available and what would happen next in the process of things. He was available in a reasonable amount of time any time I needed to set up an appointment. And, he was also very personable and made me feel comfortable talking to him during a very uncomfortable part of my life. I would definitely recommend him to my friends and family....Client
  • Greg helped me keep my son

    I contacted Deriso, Deriso, & Suher to file for emergency custody of my son. Greg Suher made time to meet with me that day because of the urgency of the situation. He explained every step of the still ongoing process. All of the evidence in this case is in my favor, but that means nothing without a good lawyer. I feel Greg runs circles around my wife's lawyer, and I am confident things will go my way....Dominic