Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
May 25, 2017

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Pennsylvania?

This section defines abuse for the purposes of getting a protection from abuse order.  Abuse is the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

  1. Attempting to cause or causing (with or without a deadly weapon):
      • Bodily injury or serious bodily injury;
      • Rape;
      • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (oral sex, anal sex, vaginal or anal penetration with a foreign object performed under force or the threat of force, or while unconscious);*
      • Sexual assault or statutory sexual assault;
      • Aggravated indecent assault (vaginal or anal penetration with a finger or other body part under force or threat of force, or while unconscious);**
      • Indecent assault (touching a person’s intimate parts for the purposes of arousal without consent, under force or threat of force, or while the person is unconscious);***
      • Incest; or
  1. Placing another in reasonable fear of immediate serious bodily injury;
  2. False imprisonment;
  3. Physical or sexual abuse of a child; or
  4. Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.****


For the exact definitions of the legal terms listed in this section, please go to our PA Statutes page.


* 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3123(a)

** 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3125(a)

*** 18 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 3126(a); 3101

**** 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102(a)