Being the victim of violence is terrifying, especially if the violent person is someone living in your household or with whom you have an intimate relationship. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, we want you to know that you are not alone—there are resources for victims of domestic violence. One way to protect yourself is to seek a protection order against domestic violence in Massachusetts. Reach out to Attorney Heather M. Ward directly to learn more. 

What Is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is a type of civil court order that provides protection from physical abuse, sexual abuse, and threat of harm caused by a family or household member. Domestic violence restraining orders are officially called Abuse Prevention Orders or 209A orders in Massachusetts. A restraining order can be sought to provide protection against a: 

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Current or past household member
  • Person with whom you have a shared child in common
  • Relative by blood or marriage
  • Person you are dating

Once a restraining order is issued, it will order the abusive party to refrain from engaging in certain actions. For example, it will order the abusive party to stop engaging in abuse, to refrain from contacting you, to give up any firearms they’re in possession of, and to leave a shared home. 

How Does Massachusetts Define Abuse?

In order to receive a 209A protective order in Massachusetts, you will have to prove that the party against whom you are seeking the order is related to you in one of the ways listed above and that they have subjected you to abuse. Abuse is defined by the state of Massachusetts as actual physical abuse (i.e. hitting, kicking, punching, choking), any attempt to harm another person, placing a person in fear of serious harm, or forcing sexual relations by threat of force or duress. 

How to Apply for a Protective Order in Massachusetts

If you are a victim of domestic abuse in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to take action. You can apply for a protective order in Massachusetts by heading to the courthouse and filing an Application for Abuse Prevention Order in the clerk’s office. You will need to file a sworn affidavit that details the abuse at the time of your application. 

Note that you can also obtain an emergency order of protection on weekends and after business hours by visiting a police department or if the police respond to an emergency (i.e. a domestic violence abuse call). Emergency orders are not permanent. 

Get Help from the Law Office of Heather M. Ward Today 

If you are someone who is being abused and is fearful about your physical health and wellbeing, or the physical wellbeing of others in your home, including children, you have legal rights. At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our experienced family lawyer can help you to file a petition for a 209A protective order. We can also help you to understand how domestic violence can impact a divorce and issues like child custody. Please call our law firm directly today at (617) 903-8955 to request a consultation and learn more about your options. We are here for you.