What is domestic violence?
As stated in 18 PA C.S § 2711 probable cause arrests in domestic violence cases; a police officer shall have the same right of arrest without a warrant as in a felony whenever he has probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime of simple assault, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats, stalking or strangulation against a family or household member, spouse or former spouse although the offense did not take place in the presence of the police officer.
What does the law mean?
If you are being physically or sexually abused, threatened, or stalked by a family or household member, spouse or former spouse there is a law to protect you. Family or household member is defined as spouses or persons who have been spouses, persons living as spouses or who lived as spouses, parents and children, other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, current or former sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.
The decision to arrest and charge shall not require the consent of the victim or consideration of the relationship of the parties.
If you are the victim of domestic violence...
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an order for protection from domestic abuse pursuant to the Protection From Abuse Act (23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61) which could include the following:
• An order restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse.
• An order directing the abuser to leave your house.
• An order preventing the abuser from entering your residence, school, business, or place of employment.
• An order awarding you or the other parent temporary custody of or temporary visitation with your child or children.
• An order directing the abuser to pay support to you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so.
Where to get help
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES OF SOUTHWESTERN PA
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 (TTY for the Deaf)
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Among the services provided to domestic violence victims are: crisis intervention; counseling; accompaniment to police, medical, and court facilities; and temporary emergency shelter for victims and their dependent children. Prevention and educational programs are provided to lessen the risk of domestic violence in the community at large.
1-800-932-4632 (in Pennsylvania)
WASHINGTON COUNTY CHILDREN & YOUTH SERVICES
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
SPHS C.A.R.E. Center S.T.T.A.R.S. Program
75 East Maiden Street, Suite 100
Washington, PA 15301