What is it?
A Protection from Abuse (PFA) is a court order that prohibits offenders from abusing and contacting victims they have had a relationship with. The offender must be a:
- Spouse or ex-spouse
- Parent or child
- Biological relative
- Relative by marriage
- Current or former intimate or sexual partner
- Person who shares a biological parent
PFAs can protect victims by restricting the offender from entering the victim residence, place of employment, and/or school as well as prohibiting indirect contact through third parties. A PFA is NOT the same as seeking criminal prosecution; you are not required to press charges. A PFA is meant to restrict the offender’s contact with the victim, and the offender cannot be punished unless he/she violates the PFA.
There are three types of PFAs:
Who can file?
PFAs are intended to protect adult and minor victims who have a relationship with the offender. The offender must be a spouse, ex-spouse, current or former sexual or intimate partner, parent or child, brother or sister or another person related by blood or marriage.
If a minor is seeking a PFA, an adult must file on the minor’s behalf. If the minor victim is over the age of nine, you MUST bring the child with you when filing.
Where do you file?
You can file for a PFA in the county where the victim temporarily/permanently lives or is employed, the county where the offender may be served, or the county where the sexual assault occurred.
To file a temporary PFA in Butler County, you need to go to the Domestic Relations Office (level L) in the Butler County Courthouse between 8:30 am and 10:30 am Monday through Friday. A VOICe advocate will be available to provide support and information during the filing process. The process can be lengthy, so plan to be there into early afternoon. If the minor victim is over the age of nine, you MUST bring the child with you to the courthouse.
What does it cost to file?
There are no costs for the filing party. Additionally, you are not required to have legal representation to file a temporary PFA, but VOICe Attorneys can represent you for free during the final PFA hearing. Please call 1-800-400-8551 for more information about representation.
What information will the person I’m filing against be served?
The person you’re filing against will be served with the same paperwork you receive. If you have fled to a different county for your safety, it is important to remember that the person you are filing against will know where you filed the PFA. Please call 1-800-400-8551 if you need to discuss options or safety plan.
Is this the right protection order for me?