Restraining Orders

Restraining Orders are court ordered by a judge to protect individuals from being abused, harassed or stalked by their abusers.

The following circumstances classify as abuse within state of Massachusetts:

• If someone has physically harmed you or is attempting to harm you

• Creating fear in you

• Engaging in sexual relations with you by force or threat

Purpose of Restraining Orders

Restraining orders prevent an abuser from abusing you, require them to vacate your residence even in shared homes, prevent them from contacting you and your children, and prevents them from going to your place of residence, work, child's school, and other places that you frequent.

Restraining orders are only granted under your consent and if seeking a restraining order, you can request certain terms of the order. All of these options are available to you through the Massachusetts law under Chapter 209 and Chapter 258E.

Advocates are available to speak with you to help you determine your next steps.

If you or someone you know is being abused, harassed, or stalked, you can seek legal action to receive a protection order against the offender.

Things to remember:

  • You can request certain terms of your restraining order
  • You can seek help from Advocates to assist you in the process
  • You are not alone
  • For more information please visit the following website:

Restraining Orders are available and made possible through the Abuse Protection Act under Chapter 209A.

How to Apply for a Restraining Order

Emergency restraining orders can be issued through District and Probate and Family Courts by applying at the Clerks of Court Office. You may seek help from a SafePlan advocate stationed at the court. Advocates can help you complete the form and can accompany you when you speak with the judge.

You may also seek help from the Victim/Witness Assistance Program in the District Attorney’s Office. Every District Attorney Office has this Assistance Program and is available to help you apply for a restraining order. For more information visit http://mova.state.ma.us.

If you are worried about your abuser seeing your address on the restraining order, you can ask to have your address impounded. This means that you will fill out an address impoundment form at the same time that you apply for the restraining order, then ask the judge to hide your address on the order.

If an emergency restraining order is issued, a 10-day hearing will be required, during which the defendant will be able to attend. During these 10 days the police will attempt to serve the defendant. This means the police will attempt to tell the defendant that s/he is being served a restraining order and they must get a signature.

At the 10-day hearing, a judge will decide whether to vacate the order or to extend it. Usually, a restraining order will be issued for a year.