How to File a PFA

Through the Office of Bail Administration

Protection from Abuse Petitions are taken Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at:
  • Bail Administration Office
    50 N. Duke St.
    Second Floor
    Lancaster, PA 17608
Please note that this is a lengthy process and may take several hours to complete.

The staff of Bail Administration will assist you in filling out a petition and order for protection from abuse. They cannot give legal advice. Your petition and order will then be presented to a judge. If your order is granted it will remain in effect until the hearing is held. After the judge signs the temporary order, copies will be made, and your petition will be filed in the Prothonotary Office. Before leaving the Bail Administration Office, you will receive two copies of your protection order. You should keep a copy with you at all times.

Service is provided to the defendant by the Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff will notify the defendant that an order has been issued by handing a copy of the petition and order to him/her. The Sheriff's Department will notify you when service has been made. The Bail Administration staff will notify the police departments in the jurisdictions in which you live and work that an order has been issues by the Court.

You may wish to have an attorney represent you at the court hearing. After your petition and order are filed, you should immediately contact your attorney. If you do not have an attorney you may contact:
  • MidPenn Legal Services (services are free)
    38 N. Christian St.
    Suite 200
    Lancaster, PA 17602-2828
  • Lawyers Referral Services
    28 E. Orange St.
    Lancaster, PA 17602

Through the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (DVLC)

  1. Go to the DVLC offices located at 35 E. Orange St., Second Floor, Lancaster, PA 17602, or call 717-291-5826 to arrange an appointment to speak with a legal advocate. If you are in need of a safe place, you may call the Domestic Violence Services Shelter at 717-299-1249.
  2. After an appointment with the legal advocate, a Petition for a Protective Order can be prepared. DVLC staff will assist in the preparation, filing, and processing of the necessary papers. DVLC staff is also available for assistance and support after the filing of the legal papers.
  3. The legal process and papers will follow the same course as if filed directly with the Bail Administration Office.

Emergency Protection from Abuse Orders

An Emergency Protection from Abuse Order is available when the courthouse is closed. An emergency PFA can be obtained through the magisterial district judge. You should call your local police department and tell them you want to file a petition under the Protection from Abuse Act. The police will be able to help you contact the appropriate magisterial district judge.