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Know the Laws: Pennsylvania

UPDATED May 25, 2017

Protection from Sexual Violence or Intimidation Orders

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A civil order that provides protection for victims of sexual violence or intimidation that can be filed against someone who is not a family or household member or intimate partner.

Basic info

back to topWhat is the legal definition of sexual violence or intimidation in Pennsylvania?

For the purpose of getting a protection from sexual violence or intimidation order, the abuser must have committed one of two crimes against you: “sexual violence” or “intimidation” (although the abuser does not have to be arrested/reported to the police).

Sexual violence is defined as actions that fall under any of these crimes:

  • sexual offenses (listed under Title 18, Chapter 31 of the law - we list many here);
  • endangering the welfare of children if the offense involved sexual contact with the children;
  • corruption of minors; 
  • sexual abuse of children; 
  • unlawful contact with a minor; or  
  • sexual exploitation of children.*

Intimidation is when an abuser, who is 18 or older, commits either of these crimes against you if you are under the age of 18:

* 42 Pa.C.S. § 62A03

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back to topWhat types of protection from sexual violence or intimidation orders are available? How long do they last?

There are three types of sexual violence or intimidation protection orders available in Pennsylvania:

  • emergency orders;
  • ex parte temporary orders; and
  • extended orders.

A hearing officer can grant you an emergency order if the judge is unavailable, and the hearing officer believes that the emergency order is necessary to protect you because you are in immediate and present danger by the abuser or there is good cause to grant the order.  The emergency order expires at the end of the next business day that the judge is available.***

You can get an ex parte temporary order if you are the victim of sexual violence or intimidation, and the order is necessary to protect you from immediate and present danger by the abuser.  This order will remain in effect until it is modified or terminated after there has been notice to the abuser and the opportunity for a hearing.*  A hearing must be held within ten days after you file for your ex parte temporary order.**

A judge can grant an extended order after the abuser receives notice and has the opportunity to attend a hearing.  At the hearing, the judge must find that you are a victim of sexual violence or intimidation and that you are still at risk of harm by the abuser.  The judge can grant an extended order for a set period of time not longer than three years.  A judge can also grant an unlimited number of extensions.****

* 42 Pa.C.S. § 62A06(b)
** 42 Pa.C.S. § 62A06(a)
*** 42 Pa.C.S. § 62A09(a),(b)
**** 42 Pa.C.S. § 62A07(d)

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back to topHow can a protection from sexual violence or intimidation order help me?

After a hearing, if the judge grants you a protection from sexual violence or intimidation order, the judge can order that the abuser not:

  • enter your home;
  • enter your place of work, business, or school; and
  • have any contact with you (or other specific protected parties) either directly or through a third person.

The judge can also order anything else that s/he believes is necessary to protect you.*

* 42 Pa.C.S. § 62A07(b)

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