Protection From Abuse

Protection from Abuse Act

The Protection from Abuse Act is a state law which gives a court the power to issue a civil (non-criminal) order to protect certain people. They are:

  • Spouses, or persons living as spouses, whether they live together now or did in the past
  • Parents, children and other persons related by blood or marriage including persons who share biological parenthood
  • Current or former sexual or intimate partners


To be eligible for an order for protection from abuse, you must have been physically abused or be in real fear of serious physical abuse because of threats or menace, or have been sexually abused, or have been knowingly restrained (kept somewhere against your will with no safe way to escape).

You can file a Petition for Protection from Abuse (PDF) asking a judge to grant you an order from protection from abuse. You do not need a lawyer to file the petition. You can do it Pro Se (which means for yourself).

Help with forms:

Free assistance, advice and guidance is provided by A Woman’s Place-Legal Advocacy Program 215-348-0445 or Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania (215) 340-1818.  Doylestown Legal Aide office is located at 224 N. Main St., Doylestown, PA 18901

Legal Representation in Court:

An attorney will represent you in court free of charge through a cooperative effort of the Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania  and the Bucks County Bar Association.  


Contact A Woman’s Place at 1-800-220-8116 if you need shelter, want to arrange for someone to accompany you to the court hearing or want legal guidance and information.

Other Protection Orders: 

Sexual Violence Protection Order (or SVP): For someone who is a victim of sexual violence by someone they didn’t have an intimate relationship with, like a friend, stranger, or co-worker, and is still at risk of being hurt by that person.

Protection From Intimidation Order (or PFI): Protects a minor from someone who is 18 or older who is harassing or stalking them who they do not have an intimate relationship with. 

 Form: Protection from Sexual Violence/Intimidation

Where to file: 

Prothonotary’s Family Court Office, 100 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA. 

Office hours are Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 4:15 pm 

Ex Parte Hearings are held in the Justice Center throughout the day in Doylestown until 3:00 PM Monday - Thursday and until 1:00 PM on Friday. In order to completely prepare your Petition and have it heard that day, you should be in the Prothonotary's Office as early in the day as possible, and we recommend that you arrive no later than 2:15 PM Monday - Thursday or 12:15 PM on Friday.  

If you need to file a PFA on a holiday, weekend, after 3pm Monday – Thursday, or after 1:00pm on Friday,  you must go to the office of the Magisterial District Judge or contact the police to find out which Magisterial District Judge is on call. 

Contact Us

For more information, you may contact the Family Prothonotary Monday - Friday at 215-348-6822.

Other Resources: 

Bucks County Children’s Child Advocacy Center – 267-927-0639

ChildLine – 1-800-932-0313

NOVA – 1-800-675-6900