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Understanding Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania

Domestic violence is a critical issue that affects numerous families across Pennsylvania. The state takes a strong stance against such violence, prioritizing the safety and well-being of all individuals at risk within their homes.

It’s important to recognize what constitutes domestic violence. It includes a range of harmful acts such as:

  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Violating protective orders
  • Assault within the home
  • Putting children in danger
  • Child Abuse
  • Sexual offenses
  • Abduction
  • Homicide

Victims are supported by Pennsylvania’s robust laws, aimed at preventing domestic violence and assisting those impacted. Nonetheless, it’s acknowledged that there are instances where domestic violence claims may be wrongfully used in situations such as custody or divorce disputes. Facing any allegations, you should promptly seek legal counsel to protect your rights. Logue Law Group is dedicated to standing by your side.

Key Definitions Relating to Pennsylvania’s Domestic Violence Law

Understanding the terminology used in domestic violence cases is key:

  • Cohabit: Living together as if a couple or family.
  • Family or Household Member: This includes spouses, former spouses, blood relatives, in-laws, parents of shared children, current and former intimate partners, and those who have lived together.

Harassment is any repeated, unwanted behavior that alarms or annoys someone, including physical contact, following, communication, or other needless actions.

Domestic Abuse covers deliberate physical harm, sexual assault, rape, false imprisonment, or abuse towards a household member.

A Protection from Abuse Order is a legal directive that restricts the actions of a person accused of abuse and can mandate certain behaviors to keep the victim safe.

Typical Domestic Violence Offenses in Pennsylvania:

  • Harassment: This involves any intentional behavior to disturb or scare someone, including unwanted physical contact and persistent following, and carries penalties such as jail time up to 90 days or fines up to $300.
  • Stalking: This is when someone follows or communicates with a person to the extent that it causes significant emotional strain or fear of injury. It may be treated as a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances, resulting in imprisonment or fines.
  • Unlawful Detention:

Definition: Unlawful detention is when someone is held somewhere against their will without a legitimate reason.


  1. Considered a moderate offense
  2. Possible prison time of 1 to 2 years
  3. Fines up to $5,000
  4. Based on the legal code, Penn: 18 § 2903
  • Child Neglect and Harm:

Definition: Child neglect and harm occur when a caregiver’s actions put a child in danger or harm them through carelessness.


  1. Ranks as a serious offense or even more severe, based on specifics
  2. Potential prison time between 2.5 to 7 years, depending on severity
  3. Fines ranging from $10,000 to $15,000
  4. Covered under Penn: 23 § 6903(b)
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Acts

Definition: This crime is committed when someone engages in sexual acts with another person without their agreement or if the person can’t consent.


  1. Viewed as a severe felony
  2. Between 5 and 10 years of prison time
  3. A fine of $25,000
  4. Refer to Penn: 18 § 3122.1

Understanding Protective Orders and Their Importance

Protective orders, also known as Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders, are critical tools for safeguarding individuals from harm. Courts issue these orders to prevent severe harm or harassment by keeping the perpetrator at a safe distance from the targeted person or child. These orders act like a shield, preventing the offender from coming into contact with the victim, whether physically or through communication like phone calls. They also ban the offender from entering specific places like the victim’s workplace or school and make it illegal for the offender to possess any firearms. Furthermore, for the safety of children, these orders can remove custody rights from the individual causing harm.

Violating a PFA is a serious offense that carries significant legal repercussions due to its protective nature. Those who break these orders risk facing criminal charges and, if found guilty, could spend up to six months in jail and be fined up to $1000.

Finding Help in Pennsylvania for Domestic Violence Issues

Having access to the right support when dealing with domestic violence is crucial. In Pennsylvania, many organizations are ready to help:

  • Reach out to your local police department.
  • Check out AARDVARC’s Pennsylvania Division.
  • Connect with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV).

Confronting allegations of domestic violence can be daunting, and it is essential to navigate these difficulties with an experienced Beaver criminal lawyer. At Logue Law Group, we pride ourselves on providing thoughtful and professional legal support during these trying times. Contact us for a complimentary consultation, and let us help you take a decisive step toward handling your case.

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