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Legal Advocacy

We offer services to those who have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence, local law enforcement and first responders. 

We have offices in Washington County, Greene County, and Fayette County, and each office is staffed with knowledgeable legal advocates.

Our legal advocates provide the following services for those who may need them:

  • File Protection From Abuse (PFA) petitions
  • Accompany individuals to civil and criminal proceedings
  • Make referrals to other services, including Summit Legal Aid and the Bar Association
  • Make referrals for people who abuse to the Batterers Intervention Program (BIP)
  • Train local law enforcement and first responders on best practices when encountering someone who may be experiencing domestic violence

If you need help filing a PFA, our legal advocates are here to help you. 

We can assist you in filing a PFA against someone who is abusive toward you and that you have one of the following relationships with:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Parent of your child
  • Your parents
  • Your children
  • Family members related through blood or marriage
  • A current or former intimate partner, including dating relationships.

You can file a PFA if you are experiencing abuse as defined under the PFA act. 

This may include the person abusing you causing or trying to cause physical harm, causing you reasonable fear of imminent or serious bodily injury, holding you against your will or interfering with movement, rape or sexual assault, or repeatedly stalking you, causing you reasonable fear of bodily injury. These are just some examples. Our advocates are always happy to talk with you if you believe you could benefit from a PFA.

When you file for a PFA, you may request certain reliefs, such as custody, no contact from the person abusing you, or eviction and exclusion of them from your home.

If you are interested in filing a PFA, please contact one of our offices at the numbers provided below. Our legal advocates will work with you to file a petition in one of our offices in Washington, Greene, or Fayette counties. Once a petition is filed, there will be a same day ex parte hearing where a judge will determine if a temporary order will be granted or denied. If the temporary order is granted, the Sheriff's Office will serve the PFA to the person you filed it against. A final hearing will then be held within 10 business days to determine if a final PFA will be granted and for how long.

Call one of our offices

If you feel our legal advocacy services would be a good fit for you, or you want to learn more about what we offer.

Most Asked Questions

Below are some of the questions we are often asked about our legal advocacy services. If you want to know more, call us, and we’d be happy to provide additional information about how our services work!

How long does it take to file a PFA?

The filing process can take 30-45 minutes. However, you have to see the judge for an ex parte hearing. It will just be you and the judge during an ex parte hearing. The wait to see the judge can be anywhere from 2-4 hours in Washington and Fayette counties. In Greene County, the judge will call you for your ex parte hearing.

How do I know which county I can file a PFA in?

According to the PFA statute, you can file where you live, where you work, or where the abuse occurred.

Do I need to hire an attorney to file a PFA?

No. DVSSP will file the PFA petition for you and refer you to free legal counsel regardless of your income.

Where do I file an emergency PFA if it’s outside of normal business hours?

If you need a PFA after normal business hours, an emergency PFA order can be obtained through the Magistrate on call for that county. To find this information, the best option is to call 911 and they will give you directions based on the county you live in.

If I file an emergency PFA, when does it expire?

An emergency PFA expires at the END of the following business day that the Court of Common Pleas deems itself available. In Washington and Fayette Counties, this is the next business day from when you filed the emergency PFA. In Greene County, this is the following first day of the week.

24/7 Helpline1-800-791-4000