Definitions of Domestic Violence - Pennsylvania

Date: January 2021

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil Laws

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6102

'Abuse' means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners, or persons who share biological parenthood:

  • Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, or incest with or without a deadly weapon
  • Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury
  • The infliction of false imprisonment pursuant to title 18, § 2903
  • Physically or sexually abusing minor children, including such terms as defined in chapter 63 (relating to child protective services)
  • Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances that place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury

The definition of this paragraph applies only to proceedings commenced under this title and is inapplicable to any criminal prosecutions commenced under title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses).

Defined in Child Abuse Reporting and Child Protection Laws

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 18, § 2711

A police officer shall have the same right of arrest without a warrant as in a felony whenever he or she has probable cause to believe the defendant has violated §§ 2504 (relating to involuntary manslaughter); 2701 (relating to simple assault); 2702(a)(3), (4), and (5) (relating to aggravated assault); 2705 (relating to recklessly endangering another person); 2706 (relating to terroristic threats); 2709.1 (relating to stalking), or 2718 (relating to strangulation) against a family or household member, although the offense did not take place in the presence of the police officer. A police officer may not arrest a person pursuant to this section without first observing recent physical injury to the victim or other corroborative evidence. For the purposes of this subsection, the term 'family or household member' has the meaning given that term in title 23, § 6102.

Persons Included in the Definition

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6102

'Family or household members' means any of the following:

  • Spouses or persons who have been spouses
  • Persons living as spouses or who lived as spouses
  • Parents and children
  • Other persons related by consanguinity or affinity
  • Current or former sexual or intimate partners
  • Persons who share biological parenthood