This weekend many will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with their loved ones. Cards and gifts are exchanged to express love and friendship. February 14th also marks V-Day: a global activist movement to end violence against women. This movement started in 1998 and has raised millions of dollars in addition to bringing awareness of the issue of violence against women on an international scale. Pennsylvania recently enacted the Protection from Sexual Violence and/or Intimidation Act (PSVI). The Act allows victims to obtain a civil no-contact order for up to three (3) years on the basis of sexual violence.
In addition to the Protection available under the PSVI, Pennsylvania has the Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act which also provides a civil remedy in the form of a stay away order. The PFA Act can only be utilized if there is a certain relationship between the victim and the offender (e.g. spouse or former spouse, parent of child with Defendant, current or former intimate partner or family member of the Defendant). The PSVI Act does not restrict protection based on relationship of the parties involved. Violation of either a PFA or PSVI Order can carry criminal consequences. A Woman’s Place is a domestic violence organization based in Bucks County that serves as an invaluable resource to victims of domestic violence.