Has your partner ever...
- hit, grabbed, strangled, bitten, burned, slapped or pushed you?
- used a gun or knife or some kind of weapon against you?
- hit you with some object like a bat or pan or belt?
- hit, held or squeezed you shard that it left a bruise?
- threatened to hurt or to kill you or your children or your friends?
- withheld money, food, medicine or transportation from you?
- called you names, made you feel ashamed of yourself, humiliated you?
- put you down in front of your children, your friends, your boss?
- forced you to have sex when you did not want to?
- forced you to perform sexual acts you did not want to?
- destroyed or broken your possessions?
- threatened to harm or kill himself if you do or don't do something?
- abuses or kills pets?
Safety during an explosive incident:
- Identify which door, window or stairwell offers the quickest way out of your home. Practice your route.
- Find neighbors that you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance.
Safety when preparing to leave:
- Have a bag packed and ready. Keep it hidden but easy to get to, for instance, at the house of a trusted friend or relative.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q. What is a Protection Order?
A. Protection Orders are similar but not identical to what had been called Restraining Orders or Peace Bonds. A Protection Order is a civil order issued by a judge that directs a person (The Defendant) to have no contact with you ("The Petitioner"). The Defendant cannot contact you in person, by telephone or computer, or through another party. Also, the Defendant will not be allowed to possess a firearm while the Protection Order is in effect.
Q. Who can apply for a Protection Order?
A. A person who is or has been a victim of domestic or family violence may file a petition for an order for protection against a family or household member who commits an act of domestic or family violence. If you are a victim or parent or legal guardian of a victim of domestic or family violence committed by a family or household member you may file a petition for protection and a request for a hearing. A judge or magistrate will decide if you have legal grounds for the granting of a Protection Order.
Q. What acts are considered to be "domestic or family violence"?
A. Only the following acts qualify as domestic or family violence:
Attempting to cause, threatening to cause, or causing physical harm to another or family or household member without legal justification; Placing a family or household member in fear of physical harm without legal justification; Causing a family or household member to involuntarily engage in sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress; Stalking; or Sexual offense.
Q. Who is considered to be a family or household member?
A. In order to qualify to tile a petition for a Protection Order you must be able to describe your relationship with the Defendant (person to be restrained) as your family or household member:
- The Defendant is, or used to be, my spouse;
- The Defendant and I are dating, or have dated, each other;
- The Defendant and I are, or have been, engaged in a sexual relationship;
- The Defendant and I have a child in common;
- The Defendant and I are related by blood or adoption;
- The Defendant and I are related by marriage;
- The Defendant is, or used to be: My guardian; My ward; My custodian; My foster parent; or I am a minor child of a person in one of the types of relationships listed above.
- The Defendant has committed stalking against me.
- The Defendant has committed a sex offense against me.
If your relationship with the Defendant is not described above, the Court will not grant your petition for a Protection Order.
Q. Can Protection Orders for victims of stalking and sexual offenses only be obtained against family or household members?
A. No. Protection Orders can be obtained for victims of stalking and sexual offenses against non-family or non-household members if the person has committed the act of stalking or a sexual offense against the Petitioner for the Protection Order.
Q. Can I apply for a Protection Order against my neighbor with whom I cannot get along?
A. No. If you have a legal problem with a neighbor you should talk with a lawyer to find out about your options. If the dispute includes harassment or abuse you can also file a report with the police. If criminal charges are filed against the person who is harassing or abusing you, you may be able to obtain a No Contact Order as part of the criminal case. If you are not certain whether the problem with your neighbor amounts ta crime, you can contact the police department and speak to the officer on duty.
Q. What information will I need in order to till out the Petition?
A. You must have the following information about the Defendant to request a Protection Order:
- Correct full name;
- Correct and current address; and
- Correct date of birth or Social Security Number.
Additional information that will be helpful to have about the Defendant:
- Identifying characteristics of the Defendant, such as:
- Hair color
- Employer's name and address
- Telephone number(s)
- Addresses frequented by the Defendant
Q. How long is a Protection Order valid?
A. Protection Orders are valid for up to two(2) years from the date of issuance.
Q. Is my Protection Order enforceable outside of the state in which it was originated?
A. Protection Orders are enforceable in all fifty states. You should keep a copy of your Protection Order with you at all times.
Q. What if I have a Protection Order that was issued in another county or state?
A. The Protection Order will still be in effect, but you should keep a copy of your Protection Order with you at all times and register the Protection Order with the local police so that the local law enforcement agencies will have a copy on file.
For more information,please visit the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County