Domestic Violence and Protection from Abuse (PFA) Orders During Coronavirus Lockdown

During this time of shelter-in-place and community lockdowns, the landscape of criminal activity has changed dramatically. In an analysis done by The Economist of data collected from five large cities, most crime has plummeted in the wake of COVID-19 by more than 25%. While this appears encouraging, crimes waged within the walls of our homes are now on the rise.

According to The Economist, an inspection of more than 100,000 police reports generated during the COVID-19 lockdown shows domestic violence is up more than 5%. Experts posture that this up-tick in domestic disputes, not surprisingly, comes as a function of the proximity of involved parties. Abusers and the abused are forced into self-containment with one another, and the anxiety of lost wages coupled with an inability to resort to previous stress-relieving measures can incite violent conflict within the home.

Another sad reality is the insurgence of Protection from Abuse (“PFA”) orders being filed as a strategic deployment in custody cases. Chester County Courts are currently hearing PFA petitions. Many other counties in the Mid-Atlantic region are instead allowing the temporary PFA order issued to remain in place until such time as the courts reopen, thereby forcing the Defendant of that particular case to refrain from seeing his or her family members protected under the temporary order.

Given these unprecedented court operations, as well as the data showing an increase in domestic violence, it is critical, now more than ever, to have experienced advisors guiding you through domestic violence and PFA petitions as a Plaintiff or as a Defendant.

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