Victims of domestic violence need to do everything they can to remain safe when they make the decision to leave their abuser. For some, this means that they need to get a protection order. This order gives the victim the legal means to ensure that their abuser can't come into direct contact with them.
There are three types of protective orders in Pennsylvania – Protection from Intimidation Order, Protection from Abuse Order, and Sexual Violence Protection Order. For most people who are leaving an abusive relationship, the Protection from Abuse Order is the one they'll need.
This order is valid for up to three years. It can include you and your children. It limits the ability of your abuser to be within a certain distance of the people named in the order, and it can limit their ability to try to communicate with you.
The Protection from Intimidation Order is reserved for cases that don't include members of the same household or family. In order for this to be granted, the victim must be a minor and the defendant must be an adult.
The Sexual Violence Protection Order is reserved for the victims of sexual violence. There isn't a requirement for the two parties to live in the same household or be in an intimate relationship with each other.
Remember, these orders are only one component of what you need to think about if you leave an abusive relationship. You may also have to deal with divorce and child custody battles. Thinking about each of these might help you to plan better as you embark on your new life that's free from domestic violence.