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209A Restraining Orders

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed September 2019

In Massachusetts, victims of domestic violence can obtain court orders designed to protect them from further harm.These court orders are referred to by various terms, including “Abuse Prevention Orders,” “restraining orders,” and “protective orders.” Most of these orders are issued under the authority of Chapter 209A of Massachusetts General Laws, and the orders are sometimes called “209A” orders.

You can obtain abuse prevention orders when the abuse was committed by family or household member or by a person with whom you were involved in a dating or marital engagement relationship.

Abuse prevention orders are issued to protect you from further harm when the abuse involved causing you physical harm, attempting to cause you physical harm, making you afraid that serious physical harm is going to happen to you, or making you have sex by force, threat or duress.

An abuse prevention order can provide for financial safety by including an order for child support.

Massachusetts' Guidelines for Judicial Practice: Abuse Prevention Proceedings were updated in September, 2011.

New 209A court forms will go into effect on December 1, 2011.

This section of MassLegalHelp has more detailed information about 209A Abuse Prevention Orders, “restraining” orders, and “protective” orders.