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Nearly half of PFA orders withdrawn or dismissed, state says

| Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, 5:15 p.m.
Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts

Nearly half of all protection from abuse orders are terminated by those who filed them after they don't show up for court or choose to withdraw the complaint, according to statistics from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

In 38,103 PFA cases processed in 2016, 28 percent were dismissed after the plaintiff — the individual who filed for the PFA — did not show up for the next hearing on the matter. Another 20 percent withdraw their complaint.

That said, of all the cases filed across the state last year, nearly 89 percent were granted at least a temporary protection order of up to 10 days. Seventeen percent go on to have a final order granted after a hearing before a judge, and just under 5 percent have a final order denied.

University of Pittsburgh student Alina Sheykhet's complaint against her ex-boyfriend last month was granted by a judge.

Her PFA did not stop ex-boyfriend Matthew Darby from breaking into her Oakland home early Sunday and bludgeoning her to death, according to police.

Sheykhet, 20, sought a PFA after Darby climbed a gutter and broke into her apartment Sept. 21. He was charged with felony criminal trespassing.

But experts say that in a majority of cases, PFAs serve their intended purpose — to put space and time between the two involved. In 2016, 18 percent of PFA cases were resolved by an agreement between the parties.

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