Obtaining Protection from Abuse Orders Amid the Coronavirus

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The mandate to socially distance or even isolate in response to coronavirus is particularly complex, and potentially dangerous, for people experiencing intimate partner violence (aka domestic violence).

You can still get an EMERGENCY PROTECTION FROM ABUSE (PFA) order even though many local courts, including Philadelphia and Delaware County courts (as of this hour), are temporarily closed.

Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, go to the Emergency Domestic Violence site at the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert Street.

The Emergency Filing Site will be open 24/7 until Family Court reopens.

Here is more information on emergency PFAs.

Please note that the brochure at the link states that the Emergency Domestic Violence site is open only when Family Court is closed. That means that the Emergency Filing Site is currently open and will remain open until further notice.

Pittsburgh/Allegheny County

A judicial emergency has been declared by the Allegheny County Courts because of COVID-19 until April 14 2020.

This emergency has suspended most of the court’s operations, but Protection from Abuse and judicial bypass hearings will be conducted as normal.

Details about obtaining an emergency PFA in Allegheny County is posted here. 

Across Pennsylvania 

If you are outside of Philadelphia, find your local domestic violence program through the Pennsylvania Coalition for Domestic Violence here.

WLP’s Telephone Counseling & Referral Service provides general information but is not a hotline. We return calls in the order we receive them.

While our office is closed, it’s best to request a call by filling out our online form.

We have a skeleton staff, so it may take several days to call you back.

You can also call the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-866-723-3014 (BE-SAFE) anytime crisis intervention, safety planning, resources, and referrals. All calls are free, confidential and anonymous.

Your safety is a top priority. If you have an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.

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