Bail Administration Office

What is Abuse
The term abuse is defined in the Protection From Abuse Act (as amended 1994) as including:
  • Attempting to cause or causing bodily injury (physical injury), involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, rape, or spousal sexual assault
  • Being placed in reasonable fear of injury by a physical or verbal threat or menacing gesture
  • Being kept in a place against your will by force or threat of force
  • Physical or sexual abuse of a child
  • Being followed or threatened in a way to place one in reasonable fear of bodily injury
Filing a PFA requires that a hearing must be scheduled within ten business days after the petition is filed and any temporary order is issued.

Plaintiffs (persons who filed the petition) are eligible to be represented at the hearing without charge by MidPenn Legal Services, they can choose to have private counsel represent them, or they can appear without an attorney and represent themselves. If you want to have legal representation, it is important to contact MidPenn Legal Services or your attorney as soon as a hearing has been scheduled. If, after the hearing, a protection order is entered, copies should be sent to all law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction or reason to enforce it. Copies also are maintained in a special PFA Registry.

Violations of either a temporary order or a final order are considered in contempt of court and are scheduled before a judge within 10 days. All violations of the temporary orders or final orders should be promptly reported to the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction to enforce the order.

The majority of criminal contempt proceedings will be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office although there will be some occasions where MidPenn Legal Services or private attorneys will prosecute the contempt. In certain types of civil contempt problems Domestic Violence Legal Clinic may assist a victim at the contempt hearing.