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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Restraining Orders

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March 4, 2019

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);1
      • 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);2
      • 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);3
      • 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.4

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

1 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3123(a)
2 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3125(a)
3 18 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 3126(a); 3101
4 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102(a)