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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 14, 2023

What protections can I get in a harassment prevention order?

As part of a harassment prevention order, the judge can order that the harasser:

  1. stop abusing or harassing you;
  2. stop contacting you, unless contact is permitted by the court;
  3. stay away from your home or workplace; and
  4. pay you back for any money that you lost because of the harassment, such as:
  • loss of earnings from work;
  • medical expenses;
  • damage to property;
  • the cost of replacing your locks;
  • the cost of getting an unlisted phone number; and
  • your attorney’s fees.1

You can ask for numbers 1 through 3, above, whether the harasser (defendant) is an adult or a minor. You can only ask for number 4, above, if the harasser is an adult.1

When you file for the harassment prevention order, you can also file a separate petition relative to domesticated animals in which you can ask the judge to order that the harasser (defendant) not abuse, threaten, take, interfere with, harm, hide, give away, or otherwise dispose of your pets. You can also request possession, care, and control of your pets.2

Note: Even if the harassment prevention order does not specifically prohibit firearms, Massachusetts laws says that anyone with a temporary or final harassment prevention order against him/her is not eligible to get a firearm license, which is needed to have or buy a gun.3

1 M.G.L.A. 258E § 3(a)
2 See Petition relative to domesticated animals
Mass. Gen. Laws 140 § 131(d)(vi)(C)