Facing the Social Stigma of Your PFA

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 24, 2022 | 0 Comments

It's never easy to deal with a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order. Someone has accused you of a heinous act or crime. The order itself can disrupt your life, limiting when you can go and when. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of a PFA, though, is handling the social stigma that's attached to it.

It's not surprising a stigma would attach to anyone who's been issued a PFA. It's right there in the name of the order: “Protection from Abuse” suggests that you've already been tried and found guilty. It can be hard to convince others, even your close friends and family, that you're innocent. That can be frustrating, so frustrating you might be tempted to do something you'll regret later.

Don't let this happen to you. There are ways to protect your reputation and keep yourself from being ostracized, but they'll only work if you can stay calm and keep your head.

Spread the Truth

When left to imagine the scenario that led to a PFA order, most people probably do assume the worst. We live in an era when it's fashionable to always believe the “victim.” Perhaps the simplest thing you can do to combat any prejudice people might be feeling, though, is simply to tell people what really happened.

You might be surprised how many people will actually believe the truth when you tell them in simple terms. If your ex has asked for a PFA against you as a tactic in your custody battle, that's easy enough to explain. Your ex certainly isn't the first person to try that move, and your friends and family will understand. You have the advantage of sounding believable because, well, you're telling the truth.

Explain PFAs

Most people don't really understand what PFAs are. They may draw assumptions from the name itself, or they may have seen something inflammatory about them on television. The reality is far different.

For one thing, a PFA is not a criminal matter. You aren't actually being accused of a crime. A PFA is a tool used in civil cases to help protect the litigants. For another thing, prosecutors don't have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you've actually abused anyone. In fact, judges typically err on the side of caution in issuing orders, so you may wind up with PFA even if the evidence in the case is somewhat suspect.

When you explain what a PFA actually is and how often it is used as a strategy in civil litigation, you'll find people's opinions will often change dramatically.

Keep Your Cool

What you don't want to do is allow the stigma of a PFA to add to your stress levels. You may feel like your reputation has taken a hit, that there's no way to get back your friends' and family's good impression of you. In all likelihood, that's not true. Even if that's what happens, though, you don't want to make your situation worse by doing something you'll later regret.

If you let stress overwhelm you, you'll have a harder time convincing anyone to believe you. Worse, you might be tempted to do something dumb, like actually harass the person who asked for the order. Violating a PFA is a criminal offense.

Be patient, follow the conditions of the order, and allow the situation to sort itself out. When others see how calm you are in the face of adversity, they'll be more likely to believe you are innocent.

Call Our Criminal Law Team and the LLF Law Firm

Of course, the most important thing to do if you're facing a PFA is to contact an attorney, our Criminal Law Team has years of experience handling PFA orders. We can give you even more suggestions for keeping your reputation intact. We can also help you fight the order itself or try to have it expunged from your record.

For more information, contact the LLF Law Firm today. Call 888-535-3686 or use our automated online form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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