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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of
December 14, 2023

What is the legal definition of harassment?

For the purpose of getting a harassment prevention order, the law defines harassment as any of the following:

  1. three or more acts of cruel behavior when the harasser has the intent to cause, and actually causes, any of the following:
    • fear;
    • intimidation;
    • abuse; or
    • damage to property;
  2. causing another person to have sexual relations against his/her will by force, threat, or coercion; or
  3. committing one of the following crimes against another person, even if the crime is never reported to the police or the harasser is never arrested for it:

Note: Filing a civil harassment prevention order does not affect your right to also report the harasser to the police for harassing you, stalking you, or committing any of the above crimes against you if you choose to.2

1 M.G.L.A. 258E § 1
2 M.G.L.A. 258E §§ 3(g); 4