In Pennsylvania, a protection from abuse order, also known as a PFA, is a court order designed to protect people experiencing domestic violence. A PFA can prohibit the defendant from having any contact with the plaintiff, including in person, through others, over the phone or online.
If someone has a PFA order issued against them, it can significantly impact their life in various ways.
Personal freedom and lifestyle
A PFA order can limit personal freedoms. If the order includes eviction from a shared home, the person may need to find new housing promptly. Restrictions on contact may mean changes to daily routines, especially if the protected individual is someone they regularly see, such as a co-worker or family member. This can disrupt social circles and participation in shared activities or community events.
The order may also include temporary custody arrangements for any shared children. These arrangements may limit or completely halt contact with children until a court hearing determines custody and visitation rights.
Employment and professional reputation
A PFA can impact employment and professional standing as well. Some employers, especially those in sensitive industries such as education, healthcare and law enforcement, may view a PFA as a red flag. It may affect promotions, job opportunities and even current employment.
In some professions, employers must report employees with PFAs to licensing boards or regulatory bodies, which could result in professional sanctions or the loss of licenses. Furthermore, colleagues and supervisors may treat the individual differently, potentially damaging working relationships and overall job satisfaction.
Always respect the terms of the protection from abuse order to avoid further legal consequences. Seek a resolution to the underlying issues leading to the order, whether through counseling, therapy or other suitable interventions. The impact of a PFA order is far-reaching, underscoring the importance of preventing domestic violence and promoting healthy relationships.