What should I do when I leave the courtroom?
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
- Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
- Make several copies of the order as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a picture of the abuser.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in, and protected by, the order.
- If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, you may want to take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them. The prothonotary is supposed send a copy of the PFA to the police within 24 hours after it's issued.1
- You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many abusers obey orders of protection, but some do not. It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. For more information please visit the Safety Tips page. Advocates at local domestic violence programs can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support. To find help near you, visit our PA Advocates and Shelters page.
1 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6105(e)(2)