Medford Police Department
100 Main Street, Medford, Massachusetts USA 02155
Chief Leo A. Sacco, Jr.
"Quality Policing Through Community Involvement"
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Domestic Services Unit Mission
To provide quality police intervention in domestic matters. We care about your family and your well being. Domestic incidents ranging from physical to sexual abuse are serious matters that require professional assistance. The police department seeks to carefully intervene and provide the best solution for the safety of your entire family. Please note there are new laws regarding getting a Protective Order (Sandy's Law).
Your Rights Under 209A
You have the right to appear at the District Court, Probate and Family Court or Superior Court, if you reside within the appropriate jurisdiction, and file a complaint requesting any of the following applicable orders:
For an emergency on weekends, holidays, or weeknights, the police will refer you to a justice of the District Court, Probate and Family Court or Superior Court departments.
You have the right to go to the appropriate District Court to seek a criminal complaint for threats, assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to kill or other related offenses.
If you are in need of medical treatment, you have the right to request that an officer present drive you to the nearest hospital or otherwise assist you in obtaining medical treatment.
If you believe that police protection is needed for your physical safety, you have the right to request that the officer present remain at the scene until you and your children can leave or until your safety is otherwise ensured. You may also request that the officer assist you in locating and taking you to a safe place, including but not limited to a designated meeting place for a shelter or a family member's or a friend's residence, or a similar place of safety.
You may request a copy of the police incident report at no cost from the police department.
General Law, Chapter 209A Section 6
The safety of the victim and any involved children shall
be paramount in any decision to arrest. Any officer arresting both parties
must submit a detailed, written report in addition to an incident report,
setting forth the grounds for dual arrest.
An Act Relative to Harassment
Many victims of stalking, sexual assault, and harassment did not have such a relationship with their perpetrator; not able to obtain 209A restraining orders.
So what did the legislature have in mind in crafting chapter 258E?
•victim can file a complaint in court without needing legal representation.
•not required to pay a filing fee.
•violation of the harassment order is criminally enforceable.
•Three or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person committed with the intent to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property and that does in fact cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property;
–“MALICIOUS” - Malicious is defined as conduct characterized by “cruelty, hostility or revenge.” G.L. c. 258E, § 1.
•One act that:
–(A) by force, threat or duress causes another to involuntarily engage in sexual relations; or
–(B) constitutes a violation of several specifically enumerated criminal statutes
Chapter 265 of the General Laws Sections
–13B (indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14);
–13F (indecent assault and battery on a mentally retarded person);
–13H (indecent assault and battery on persons 14 years or older);
–22A (rape of a child/use of force);
–23 (rape and abuse of a child/statutory rape);
–24 (assault with intent to commit rape);
–24B (assault of a child with the intent to commit rape);
–26C (enticement of a child);
–43 (criminal stalking); or
–43A (criminal harassment)
Chapter 272 of the General Laws Section 3 (drugging persons for sexual intercourse)
A plaintiff seeking a harassment order under 258E may apply in one of these courts having venue over the plaintiff’s residence:
–Boston Municipal Court
Note: A plaintiff may only seek relief in Juvenile Court if the plaintiff and defendant are both under the age of 17.
–Refrain from abusing or harassing the plaintiff;
–Refrain from contacting the plaintiff, unless authorized by the court;
–Remain away from the plaintiff’s household or workplace; and/or
–Pay the plaintiff “monetary compensation” for the losses suffered as a result of the harassment.
Keep in mind that all actions involving the parties must be listed on the complaint (e.g. civil matters, school disciplinary matters).
“Monetary compensation” for the losses suffered as a result of the harassment includes, but is not limited to:
–Loss of earnings;
–Out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained or property damaged;
–Cost of replacement locks;
–Cost for obtaining an unlisted number; and/or
–Reasonable attorney’s fees.
The following court remedies are not authorized under 258E:
–An order to vacate the home.
–An order addressing custody, visitation or temporary support.
–Compensatory losses for moving expenses.
Note: The above remedies are available under 209A, which focuses on domestic violence in a family/household relationship, making the above remedies relevant.
–Suspension and surrender of firearms, firearms licenses, or firearms identification.
Some way to help a victim get relief when a court is closed?
Provides for relief if court is closed or if plaintiff unable to appear because of severe hardship due to plaintiff’s physical condition.
The emergency judicial response system will be the same as with 209A restraining orders.
Ex Parte Order/Temporary Relief
Upon the filing of a complaint, the court may issue the following:
•Temporary relief without the defendant present
–Court may order temporary relief orders without notice if the plaintiff demonstrates a “substantial likelihood of immediate danger of harassment.”
Note that “harassment” is statutorily defined, so a plaintiff who has previously been stalked will likely demonstrate that there is a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of, for example, one act of stalking.
Review by Judge
If outstanding warrant exists, a judge shall notify appropriate law enforcement officials. Judge shall also make a finding as to whether plaintiff faces imminent threat of bodily injury.
If imminent threat of serious bodily injury exists, judge shall notify appropriate law enforcement officials of such finding and law enforcement officials shall take all necessary action to execute the outstanding warrant promptly.
Court will state on its temporary order when the plaintiff needs to come back to court.
Defendant shall be given notice for the 10-day hearing.
Defendant will have an opportunity to be heard on the question of whether the temporary order should continue.
Court may grant any other relief requested by plaintiff at the 10-day hearing.
Court may grant relief to the plaintiff for up to one year.
Court will not require plaintiff to demonstrate a “substantial likelihood of immediate danger of harassment” as it did at ex parte hearing.
At the expiration of the initial order, the court may:
–Extend the order for additional time as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff; or
–Enter a permanent order.
The following information shall remain confidential and withheld from public inspection, except by order of the court:
–Residential address and telephone number of plaintiff
–Workplace name, address and telephone number of plaintiff
However, plaintiff’s confidential information shall appear on the court order and accessible to defendant and defendant’s attorney unless plaintiff specifically requests that this information be withheld from the order.
The information will be available to plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel and to others specifically authorized by plaintiff (such as victim-witness advocates, sexual assault counselors, and any officer authorized to serve criminal process) as long as such access is “necessary in the performance of their duties.”
addition to the confidentiality provided for the residence and
workplace information, under the Trial Court impoundment rules, the
court may order that any other information in the case record be
impounded and unavailable for public inspection.
Faith & Credit
protection order issued by another jurisdiction shall be given full
faith and credit in the Commonwealth.
protection order issued by another jurisdiction shall be enforced as
if it were issued in the Commonwealth for as long as the order is in
A violation of 258E is a misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by:
–A fine of not more than $5,000; or
–By imprisonment for not more than 2 ½ years in the house of correction; or
Upon a violation, the court may also order that the defendant complete an appropriate treatment program based on the offense and may also order the defendant to pay the plaintiff for certain specified damages.
–To provide judges greater discretion, 258E does not specify which treatment programs may be appropriate.
–Under 209A, in contrast, for any violation a court shall order the abusive partner to attend and complete a certified batterer’s intervention program unless the judge issues written findings as to good cause why this should not be ordered.
Although not punishment, the court shall also impose an assessment
of $350 against any person who has been referred to a treatment
program as a condition of probation.
convicted under 258E must also pay a fine of $25 for deposit into
the General Fund.
Law officers should make every effort to do the following as part of the emergency response:
–Assess the immediate physical danger to the victim and provide assistance reasonable to mitigate the safety risk;
there is observable injury to the victim or if the victim is
complaining of injury, encourage the victim to seek medical
attention and arrange for medical assistance or request an ambulance
for transport to a hospital;
–If a sexual assault has occurred, notify the victim that there are time sensitive medical or forensic options that may be available and encourage the victim to seek medical attention and arrange for medical assistance or request an ambulance for transport to a hospital;
–Provide the victim with referrals to local resources that may assist the victim in locating and getting to a safe place; and
adequate notice to the victim of his/her rights including, but not
limited to, obtaining a harassment prevention order
enforcement shall use reasonable means to enforce such orders.
Compared to 209A
In contrast to 209A, the statute does not currently include a right to arrest by law enforcement if he/she has probable cause to believe that a restraining order has been violated.
Although there is no right to arrest, a best practice for law enforcement would be for the Officer to seek a criminal complaint in District Court through a show cause hearing on behalf of the victim.
victim may seek their own criminal complaint in this same manner.
Recordkeeping System of Defendants
Whenever the court orders that the defendant refrain from harassing or have no contact with the plaintiff, the court or clerk-magistrate shall transmit:
–The issuance of, or violation of, such prevention order to the office of the commissioner of probation information for filing in the court activity record information system or statewide domestic violence recordkeeping system; and
–Two (2) certified copies of the order and one (1) copy of the complaint and summons to the appropriate law enforcement agency, which shall serve one copy of each on the defendant.
•Court’s ability to remove firearms in 209A but not 258E
•The violation of 209A as an arrestable offense, not under 258E currently
•The remedies available under 209A (i.e. vacate the home, custody, etc.) are somewhat different, and may be preferable depending on the victim’s circumstances.
For example, if the individual filing for the restraining order has children, 209A provides remedies related to custody, visitation, and child support, which 258E does not contain.