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What happens if the person who abused me violates the order?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2023

If the person you have a 209A restraining order against does something that the order says they cannot do, it is called a "violation".

It is a crime if the person violates the order by abusing you, contacting you, or coming nearer to you than the order says they can.

The part of the 209A restraining order that says “no contact” means that the person is not allowed to contact you themselves or through other people. No contact means no contact! If the person tries to contact you in any of these ways, they are violating the order.

For example, the abusive person is not allowed to:

  • Talk to you in person

  • Call or FaceTime you

  • Text you

  • Email you

  • Message you on social media

  • Send letters or mail

  • Give you gifts

  • Make other people contact you with a message from the abusive person, or

  • Ask other people to contact you on the abusive person’s behalf.

But, it is not a violation of the restraining order for the abusive person or their lawyer to send you documents as part of a court case, like a divorce.

If the person does violate the order, you can report it to the police. The police can investigate and may press charges against them. If the police saw the violation for themselves, or if they have good reason to believe they violated the order, they must arrest the abusive person. If the police arrest them and charge them with a crime, you will be involved in a new court case. Read Criminal Complaints for more information.

If the police are not involved or don’t arrest the person or file a criminal complaint against them, you still have the right to go to the District Court and file a criminal complaint against them yourself.

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