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Legal Information: Maine

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
January 30, 2019

What is the legal definition of abuse in Maine?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protection from abuse order. Certain forms of abuse will only qualify you for a protection from abuse order if committed by a family or household member or by a dating partner. Other forms of abuse, however, can qualify you for a protection from abuse order even if they were committed by someone who is not a family or household member or dating partner.

Maine law defines "abuse" as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts committed against you or your minor child by a family or household member or dating partner:

  • attempting to cause or causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact;
  • attempting to cause or causing sexual assault;
  • stalking as defined by law;
  • attempting to place or placing another person in fear of bodily injury by threatening, harassing or tormenting;
  • forcing a person to do things that the person has a right not to do;
  • forcing a person not to do things that the person has a right to do;
  • substantially restricting the movements of a person without lawful authority by:
    • removing a person from his/her home, business or school without consent or lawful authority;
    • moving a person a substantial distance; or
    • confining a person;
  • threatening a crime of violence that places the person in reasonable fear that the crime will be committed;
  • repeatedly and without reasonable cause, following a person or being at or in the vicinity of the person's home, school, business or place of employment;
  • engaging in the unauthorized dissemination of certain private images;
  • engaging in aggravated sex trafficking or sex trafficking; and
  • for minors only:

Maine law also defines "abuse" as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts committed by someone who is not a family or household member or dating partner:

Note: If someone is at least 60 years of age, a "dependent adult," or an incapacitated adult, and is being abused by an extended family member or an unpaid care provider, see our Protection from Abuse Orders (for elderly/disabled) page for more information on the additional definitions of abuse for these victims.2

If you are being harassed in a way that is not listed above, you may be eligible for a protection from harassment order. See our Protection from Harassment Orders section for more information.

1 ME ST T. 19-A §§ 4002(1); 4005(1)
2 See ME ST T. 19-A § 4005(1)