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Sexual violence is the most heinous crime against a person other than murder.

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Victims of sexual violence and intimidation desire safety and protection from future interactions with their offender and, now, as of July 1, 2015, Pennsylvania has become the 34th state to establish protection for sexual-assault victims. The Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act is modeled closely after the Protection from Abuse Act, but the difference between the two is the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator.

The PSVI Act defines sexual violence as conduct between persons who are not family or household members that constitutes sexual offenses, endangering the welfare of children if the offense involved sexual contact, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of children, unlawful contact with a minor, or sexual exploitation of children. The PFA Act applies to family and household members; spouses, persons living as spouses, parents and children, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, current and former sexual or intimate partners or person who share biological parenthood.  Absent of the PSVI Act, there was no protection for sexual-assault victims from a perpetrator to whom they are not related or with whom they are not intimately involved.

Unlike the PFA Act, there are two separate protections under the PSVI Act, which include sexual violence protection and protection from intimidation for minor victims.  Intimidation is defined as conduct committed by a person 18 years or older against a person under 18 years, constituting a crime between persons who are not family or household members.

The PSVI Act provides the victim of sexual violence or intimidation with a civil remedy requiring the offender to stay away from the victim, as well as other appropriate relief.

The process for obtaining a final order under the PSVI Act is similar to obtaining a PFA order. If you need assistance with filing a Petition for Protection, please contact an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through the process.

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