Domestic Violence Service Center - a path to safety and a shelter from abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any fees associated with staying at the shelter and/or receiving counseling?

All Domestic Violence Service Center services, including shelter, are free of charge and kept completely confidential.

What happens in Emergency Shelter?

Women in the Emergency Shelter Program receive options-based counseling, information and referrals to all available community resources, and a wide range of other services designed to help them plot their course to a violence-free future.

I am being abused but I am reluctant to seek shelter because I am afraid of what will happen to my pet if I leave.

Domestic Violence Service Center offers a Foster Pet Program that is available to victims of domestic violence who are leaving an abusive relationship and need a temporary home for their animal while they are in shelter. If you need additional information on the Foster Pet Program, just call the DVSC 24-Hour Hotline at 570-823-7312 or 1-800-424-5600.

Does it cost anything to file for a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order?

No prepayment of fees is required. The perpetrator is always responsible for the costs of the PFA. The court can wave the fees if it is determined the perpetrator does not have the financial means to pay.

How can a Protection From Abuse Order help?

A PFA can:

How long can a Protection From Abuse Order last?

A PFA can be obtained for a period of up to three years. The court or parties, through a consent agreement, will determine the exact duration of the order.

How do I file for a Protection From Abuse Order?

In Luzerne County, you can go to the PFA Office located in the Luzerne County Courthouse, 200 N. River St., Wilkes-Barre. The office is located on the second floor. Filings can be submitted between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. It is best to arrive before 2 p.m. since it takes approximately two hours to complete the filing process. To file a PFA in Carbon County, go to the Prothonotary’s Office located on the first floor of the Carbon County Courthouse in Jim Thorpe.

What happens once I file for a Protection From Abuse Order?

A judge will review the petition and may grant a temporary PFA or set a hearing date. Either way, a copy of the petition will be taken to the Sheriff’s Department who serves a copy of the petition on the defendant. If the victim’s address is to remain confidential, it should not be listed on the petition. A final hearing is held, usually within 10 business days of the filing date. The temporary PFA remains in effect until the hearing. The judge may request testimony from each party. After the hearing, the judge will decide whether a final PFA is warranted.

What happens if the abuser violates the Protection From Abuse Order?

If the defendant violates the PFA order, the victim should immediately contact 911 to report the incident.

How can I be sure I am in an abusive relationship?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you could be in an abusive relationship and need help.

Does your partner: