Research guides

Self-Help

Domestic Violence & Protection From Abuse

This research guide is provided by Jenkins Law Library to help with research regarding domestic/intimate partner violence and Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders in Pennsylvania and is not offered as legal advice. This guide is not a complete collection of law and commentary. There may be more laws or materials that are relevant to your issue than what is listed here, and further research may be required.

Domestic Violence and the Pandemic - Philadelphia

COVID-19 Resources in Philadelphia Women Against Abuse
This webpage has resources to help people plan for safety while at home with an abusive partner during the pandemic, including Getting Protection From Abuse Orders in Philadelphia During the Pandemic and COVID-19 Safety Planning for Domestic Violence Survivors.

Philadelphia Bar Association Family Law Resources
Contains forms and brochures (in PDF format) prepared through the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association, including Protection From Abuse in Philadelphia County During COVID.

Philadelphia Courts - First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Coronavirus Information
Features COVID-19 response updates including Administrative Orders issued by the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. For example, on May 15, 2020, the Court issued Order 34 of 2020 regarding the operations and protocols for Family Court during the pandemic. Check for updates from the Court.

Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotlines & Organizations

24/7 Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline
1-866-723-3014

Free, confidential, and anonymous. Offers options counseling, safety planning, resources, and referrals to survivors and community members trying to help loved ones experiencing abuse. Translation services are available. 

The Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline is operated by a partnership among Women Against Abuse, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Lutheran Settlement House, and Women in Transition.

Web chat is a free, confidential, and anonymous option for talking to an advocate from Women Against Abuse. Chat is available everyday from 12pm - 8pm EST.

WOAR: Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline
Call or Text: 215-985-3333

WOAR provides free services to anyone who has experienced sexual violence. The WOAR Hotline provides support, information, referral guidance, and the coordination of requested WOAR counseling services. 

Women Against Abuse Legal Center
Offers free legal advocacy and representation for survivors of all gender identities dealing with relationship violence-related matters, including Protection From Abuse (PFA), child custody, and child support. 

Resources: Domestic, Sexual, and Community Violence Healthy Minds Philly (Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services)
A list of organizations that offer services to people experiencing domestic violence, sexual violence, or physical or emotional abuse. Includes resources for shelter, legal aid, counseling, programs for abusive partners, and more.

Online - Philadelphia Courts Forms Center

Philadelphia Courts - First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Forms Center
Sample forms from Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas: Civil & Criminal Trial Division, Family Division, and Orphans' Court Division. Also includes forms from Municipal Court and Traffic Court.

See Court of Common Pleas Family Court - Domestic Relations > Protection from Abuse. Includes various forms such as Petition for Protection From Abuse, Petition for Contempt of Protection From Abuse Order, and more. 

For subject manuals and brochures on a selection of legal topics, see the Brochures & Manuals page (Court of Common Pleas - Family Division).

Research Tip

Jenkins has several form packets available at the front desk related to Protection from Abuse cases. See the Forms section of this guide for more information.

PA Statutes & Court Rules

The following Pennsylvania statutes and court rules may help you get started on your research. Links are to free online resources when available, but you may need to conduct additional research at Jenkins.

Unofficial Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes (from Westlaw)

Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (pacodeandbulletin.gov)

To find information about accessing the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure in print at Jenkins or through other resources, please see the Pennsylvania - Court Rules - State guide. For information about accessing local rules of court, see the Pennsylvania Court Rules - County guide.