Do I have to have a copy of my restraining order with me if I need the police?

The police can help you even if you do not have a copy of your order. Both the court and the police have copies of your restraining order.

Who has copies of my restraining order?

The court, the probation department, and the police have copies of every restraining order. You have a copy and the person your restraining order is against should have a copy.

The probation department gets a copy of your restraining order on the same day that the judge signs it. The probation department enters your order into the "Statewide Registry of Civil Protection Orders." This is a computer database that has records of new and old restraining orders from all over Massachusetts.

The court sends two copies of your restraining order to the “appropriate law enforcement agency.” The “appropriate law enforcement agency”  is usually the police department in the city or town where the abusive person lives. The police department keeps one copy and serves the other on the abusive person. If no one knows where to find the abusive person, then the court sends two copies of the order to the police department of the city or town where you live.

Should I keep a copy of my restraining order with me?

Yes. It is a good idea to keep a copy of your restraining order with you.

There may be other people who need to know about your restraining order, such as people at your workplace, or at your child's school. These people won't have any way to know about the restraining order unless you show or give them a copy of it.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created February 2009

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