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How can a Massachusetts domestic violence victim get protection?

Domestic abuse is a serious offense. If you are experiencing violence at home, you have a legal right to protection. You may be able to get a restraining order—known as an abuse prevention order—to protect you and/or your children.

Who is eligible for such an order?

You may be eligible to file for an abuse prevention order if your abuser is someone you are related to, married to, living with, dating or is the parent of your child. Any other type of abusive relationship qualifies as harassment under Massachusetts law and is subject to different protections. Abuse prevention orders can be issued to domestic abusers who:

  • Have raped you or threatened you into having sex
  • Have physically assaulted you or attempted to do so
  • Have made you fear that you could be subject to violence at any time

What does an abuse prevention order do?

A judge will consider the specific factors of your case in determining what types of restrictions are appropriate. Depending on your circumstances, a judge may issue an abuse prevention order that prohibits the abuser from doing any or all of the following:

  • Causing you physical harm or making threats thereof
  • Sexually assaulting you or making threats thereof
  • Having contact with you
  • Having contact with your children
  • Going to your place of residence
  • Going to your place of work
  • Owning firearms

No one should have to suffer through the terror and trauma of domestic violence. If you’re in an abusive relationship, an experienced family law attorney can help get you the protection you deserve.

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