Victoria S. Hollister, Esq., is an associate attorney with OWM Law, concentrating her practice in all areas of Family Law.

Ms. Hollister is a graduate of Penn State University and Temple University School of Law. She is a member of the PA, Montgomery County and Berks County Bar Associations.

Ms. Hollister is the mother of three daughters and resides in Berks County.

Phone: 610-323-2800
Fax: 610-718-1365
Email: vhollister@owmlaw.com


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The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.

Pennsylvania's Protection From
Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act

Most people are familiar with Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse (“PFA”) Act which was first enacted in 1976. Over the years it has been amended several times, expanding the forms of relief available, expanding the definition of those who are covered by the Act, as both victims and abusers, as well as increasing access to the system, providing victim advocates, procedures for temporary and emergency relief and penalties for violation. The PFA Act provides a civil remedy for family and household members, which includes other relatives and current or former domestic partners, who are victims of physical or sexual violence or are in fear of serious bodily injury. Both adults and children are covered under the Act.

The Protection From Sexual Violence and Intimidation Act (“PSVI”) is a new law which went into effect in Pennsylvania on July 1, 2015.  The PSVI law gives additional protections to victims of sexual violence and intimidation who may not be covered under Pennsylvania's Protection From Abuse Act.

The PSVI Act has many similarities to the PFA Act. Both Acts have the same definition of family and household members; however, the PSVI Act applies to adults and minors who are victims of sexual violence, harassment, stalking, and intimidation when the person who is abusing them is not a member of their family or household.

Two separate Orders can be issued under the PSVI Act:

  1. SVP Order – (Sexual Violence Protection) – which is available to both adults and minor; and
  2. PFI Order – (Protection from Intimidation) – is available to minor victims when the offender is 18 years or older and is stalking or harassing the victim.

For example, a SVPO could be granted for a victim who is sexually assaulted by a coworker or neighbor, and who has no other relationship with the coworker – is not now nor ever was a family relation, spouse, dating partner, or member of the same household.

A PFIO could be granted for a child whose sports coach, scout leader, or adult family friend is stalking or harassing him or her.

Like the PFA Act, the PSVI Act allows victims to file a petition for a court order that requires the offender to stay away from them, regardless of whether the victim decides to seek criminal prosecution. The process for obtaining a protective order under the PSVI Act is very similar to the process for obtaining a PFA order. That is, the plaintiff / victim files, at no cost, a petition for a Sexual Violence Protection or Protection From Intimidation order at the prothonotary's office in their county. An adult must file on behalf of a minor victim. The court then holds an ex-parte hearing to determine whether there is cause to grant a temporary order. A final hearing must be held within 10 business days of the petition being filed. The defendant is served by the sheriff with the petition and date and time of the hearing on the final order. Emergency orders are also available on the same terms of the PFA orders when the court is closed.

Either type of order, Sexual Violence Protection Order or a Protection From Intimidation Order, can be entered by the court for up to three years. Two types of relief are available under both orders: a “no contact” provision and the broad “any other appropriate relief” to fashion a suitable remedy for the circumstances.

If you, a family member or friend would like more information regarding protection orders or any other family law matter, please contact me at 610-323-2800 or vhollister@owmlaw.com. Also, OWM’s Legal talk program regarding the PSVI Act is available on our website here.

Upcoming Events

David A. Megay, Esq., speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at Owen J. Roberts High School, Pottstown, PA, on 3/30/16 entitled "Buying and Selling Real Estate in PA" and on 4/27/16 entitled "Starting and Operating Your Own Business" (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online at www.chestercountynightschool.org).

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., and Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq., attending the Winter meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Elder Law Attorney on 2/26/16 & 2/27/16 for up to date information one elder law topics.

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., speaking at Chester County Night School Seminars at Pierce Middle School, West Chester, PA, on 3/15/16 and at Owen J. Roberts Middle School, Pottstown, PA, on 3/29/16 entitled "Unique Needs of Aging Adults: An Elder Law Perspective"; and at Owen J. Roberts Middle School, Pottstown, PA, on 4/12/16 entitled "Beyond the Simple Will" (contact Chester County Night School at 610-692-1964 or online at www.chestercountynightschool.org).

Kathleen M. Martin, Esq., and Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esq., hosting a table at the Healthy Lifestyles Expo at Sunnybrook Ballroom, Pottstown, PA, on 5/19/16 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Tom Quigley and TriCounty Community Network (see www.tcnetwork.org for more info).

Watch Legal Talk, brought to you by OWM, on PCTV, Tuesdays at 8:30 on Channel 28, and Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Channel 98, or on our website here.

Read Legal Ease every first and third Sunday in the Pottstown Mercury.

O'Donnell,Weiss & Mattei, P.C.

41 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
Fax: 610-323-2845

347 Bridge Street, Suite 200
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Fax: 610-917-9348