Individuals seeking to be free from domestic violence may seek protection from the civil courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In appropriate cases, Pennsylvania courts can issue an order called a Protection From Abuse Order; New Jersey courts can issue an order called a Restraining Order. A Protection From Abuse Order or a Restraining Order means that the person who has committed abuse may not contact you, threaten you, live with you, or physically come near or harm you. A violation of this type of order has criminal penalties. The attorneys of Jerner & Palmer, P.C. have extensive experience representing clients in protection from abuse and domestic violence cases and are strong advocates for clients seeking to obtain court orders to protect themselves from domestic abuse. The attorneys of Jerner & Palmer, P.C. also defend clients who are facing allegations of domestic violence in these types of civil actions.
Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse Act defines abuse as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between current or former family or household members, or between current or former sexual or intimate partners:
Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing (with or without a weapon): bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest.
Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury. In other words, threats of physical violence.
Physically or sexually abusing minor children.
Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. In other words, stalking or harassment that makes you afraid of bodily injury.
Pennsylvania’s Protection from Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act, a separate, recently implemented law, acts as an extension of the Protection From Abuse Act to also protect against perpetrators outside of one’s family or household.
In New Jersey, a victim of domestic violence can obtain a Restraining Order. A victim of domestic violence includes any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, or by any other person who is a present or former household member and who is either 18 years of age or older or is an emancipated minor. A woman of any age who is pregnant and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a man whom she says will be the father of her child when the pregnancy is carried to term is also covered by this law. The law also applies to any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person the victim has dated.
In New Jersey, domestic violence is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts: assault, burglary, criminal mischief, criminal restraint, terroristic threats, criminal sexual contact, criminal trespass, false imprisonment, harassment, homicide, kidnapping, lewdness, sexual assault and/or stalking.