Domestic Violence Victim Resources and Information – We’re here to help!

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Middletown Borough Police, along with our fellow Dauphin County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and United States law enforcement agencies, have seen an increase in domestic violence incidents.

Please find below an excerpt from Dauphin County’s CrimeWatch- Protection from Abuse link:

Middletown Borough Police Officers are there to assist anyone in situations and households where domestic violence is present, as well as to hold individuals accountable for committing criminal acts in these instances.

Often it can be difficult to take that first step to say you need help coping with a spouse, partner, family member, ex, etc. violent.

But know that we are here to help and have the resources here in Dauphin County to help you end the cycle of abuse and violence!

Relationships that may be eligible for a PFA:

A spouse or ex-spouse

A current or former sexual or intimate partner

A member of the family

A household member (who is related by blood or marriage)

Abuse is defined as:

Causing or attempting to cause bodily harm or sexual assault

To cause someone to fear imminent serious bodily harm

Physically or sexually assaulting a minor child

Interfering with an individual’s freedom of movement

Repeatedly committing acts, such as harassment, that place an individual in fear of bodily harm

Types of protection that can be granted in a PFA:

Ask the abuser not to abuse, threaten, harass or stalk you

Evict or exclude the abuser from your residence

Block the attacker from contacting you

Grant you temporary custody of your minor children

Grant you temporary child/spouse support

Prohibit the abuser from having firearms or firearms licenses

Ask the abuser to participate in an abuser counseling program

Order the abuser to reimburse you for reasonable expenses you incurred as a result of the abuse

Allow the judge to grant any other relief deemed appropriate

How you can apply for a temporary AFP order:

You can contact a lawyer or:

Dauphin County Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) staff can help you file a “pro se” motion with the court. This means you are representing yourself, however, VWAP staff can guide you through the necessary documents and process.

What you need to know about the PRO SE process:

The VWAP is located at the Dauphin County Courthouse at Front and Market Streets in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This is a walk-in service. The earlier you arrive, the better. Allow several hours to go through the process. If you have a child or children and need to bring them to the courthouse with you, please bring another adult to provide custody of the children. Domestic violence issues will NOT be discussed in front of children. Upon arrival, a VWAP staff member will walk you through the process and provide you with the necessary forms to file a claim. Your petition will describe the incidents and allegations of abuse and this is your request to the Court for a temporary PFA order. The staff member will then prepare a formal computer-generated petition for you to sign. The request will be examined by the Court. If there is enough evidence, the judge will sign a temporary PFA order and a court date will be set. The court hearing will give you the opportunity to further explain the situation. If a temporary PFA order is granted, VWAP staff cannot stop the process and you must attend the hearing even if you decide later that you no longer need the PFA order. If a temporary ATP order is not granted, the court may schedule a hearing for further review of the case.

The audition process:

If the Court grants you a temporary ATP order, a court date is automatically set. You are required to attend this hearing. Prior to the hearing, the Respondent will receive a copy of the Petition, the PFA Interim Order, and the Notice of Hearing. The defendant is also required to attend this hearing. It is up to you to decide whether or not to get legal representation for the PFA hearing. Many petitioners choose to have legal representation and others choose to continue to represent themselves (pro se).

See the next section for more information on legal representation.

If you choose to represent yourself, a YWCA lawyer may be available to help you on the day of the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not a final ATP order should be granted. If there is enough evidence to warrant a final ATP order, it can remain in effect for up to 18 months. Types of legal representation: There are several types of legal representation available. It is entirely up to you to arrange for legal representation. It is important to remember that a lawyer needs time to review your case. Do not wait until the day before your hearing to contact a lawyer.

Here are the different options available to you when seeking legal help:

Privy Council

As a claimant, you have the right to arrange for representation by contacting a private lawyer. The cost of this service varies by lawyer.

Mid Penn Legal Services Mid Penn Legal Services provides free legal representation in PFA matters. This service is offered to a limited number of people per audience. Therefore, it is necessary to make an appointment as soon as possible by calling (717) 232-0581 or 1-800-932-0356. YWCA – Domestic Violence Legal Clinic

The YWCA Domestic Violence Legal Clinic provides legal representation. Appointments can be made by calling (717) 724-0516.

If the abuser violates the PFA order:

CALL THE POLICE. The police can arrest the abuser and charge him with indirect criminal contempt for violating the PFA. A hearing will be scheduled before the judge who issued the PFA to determine whether or not a violation occurred. Your testimony is required at this hearing. If the judge finds the abuser “guilty,” the abuser can be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $1,000. If the evidence supports criminal charges, in addition to the charge of indirect criminal contempt, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled at the office of a magistrate district judge. Your testimony is needed at this hearing.

To contact the Dauphin County Victim/Witness Assistance Program: (717) 780-7077

The after hours emergency worker can be reached by calling the number pager at: (717) 780-8052 (enter your phone number after the beep) Visit their website at www.victimwitness.org for learn more about PFA orders and other services provided by the Dauphin County Victim/Witness Assistance Program.”

Source via CRIMEWATCH®: https://dauphin.crimewatchpa.com/3/content/protection-abuse

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