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).

Domestic Service Unit Functions

Information

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
  • About Our Domestic Services Unit
  • Domestic/Family Violence Investigations
  • Elder Abuse Investigations
  • Child Abuse Investigations
  • Sexual Abuse/Rape Investigations
  • Teenage Dating & Violence Investigations
  • Domestic Incidents - Well-Being Checks
  • "Safe-House/Shelter" Relocation
  • Police Officer Actions - Domestic Violence
  • Other Services/Functions
Contact Information Directions/All Phones/Email
  • Domestic Service Unit Telephones

    • 781-391-6778

    • Rape Hotline Form/Process

    • 781-391-6779

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:

  • an order restraining your attacker from abusing you;
  • an order directing your attacker to leave your household, building or workplace;
  • an order awarding you custody of a minor child;
  • an order directing your attacker to pay support for you or any minor child in your custody, if the attacker has a legal obligation of support, and;
  • an order directing your attacker to pay you for losses suffered as a result of abuse, including medical and moving expenses, loss of earnings or support, costs for restoring utilities and replacing locks, reasonable attorney's fees and other out-of-pocket losses for injuries and property damage sustained.

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.

MA General Law, Chapter 209A Section 6

Whenever a law officer has reason to believe that a family or household member has been abused or is in danger of being abused, such officer shall use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse.
The officer shall take, but not limited to the following action:

  • remain on the scene of where said abuse occurred or was in danger of occurring as long as the officer has reason to believe that at least one of the parties involved would be in immediate danger without the presence of a law officer. This shall include, but not limited to remaining in the dwelling for a reasonable period of time;
  • assist the abused person in obtaining medical treatment necessitated by an assault, which may include driving the victim to the emergency room of the nearest hospital, or arranging for appropriate transportation to a health care facility, notwithstanding any law to the contrary;
  • assist the abused person in locating and getting to a safe place, including but not limited to a designated meeting place for a shelter or a family member's or friend's residence. The officer shall consider the victim's preference in this regard and what is reasonable under all the circumstances.
  • give such person immediate and adequate notice of his or her rights. Such notice shall consist of handing said person a copy of the statement which follows below and reading the same to said person. Where said person's native language is not English, the statement shall be then provided in said person's native language whenever possible.

    You have the right to appear at the Superior, Probate and Family, District or Boston Municipal Court, if you reside within the appropriate jurisdiction, and file a complaint requesting any of the following applicable orders:

    (a) an order restraining your attacker from abusing you;
    (b) an order directing your attacker to leave your household, building or workplace;
    (c) an ordering awarding you custody of a minor child;
    (d) an order directing your attacker to pay support for you or any minor child in your custody, if the attacker has a legal obligation of support, and;
    (e) an order directing your attacker to pay you for losses suffered as a result of abuse, including medical and moving expenses, loss of earnings or support, costs for restoring utilities and replacing locks, reasonable attorney's fees and other out-of-pocket losses for injuries and property damage sustained.

    For an emergency on weekends, holidays, or weeknights the police will refer you to a justice of the superior, probate and family, district, or Boston municipal 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.

    The officer shall leave a copy of the foregoing statement with such person before leaving the scene or premises.

  • assist such person by activating the emergency judicial system when the court is closed for business;
  • inform the victim that the abuser will be eligible for bail and may be promptly released; and
  • arrest any person a law officer witnesses or has probable cause to believe has violated a temporary or permanent vacate, restraining, or no-contact order or judgment issued pursuant to section 18, 34B or 34C of chapter 208, section 32 of chapter 209, section 3,4 and 5 of this chapter, or sections 15 or 20 of chapter 209C.
    When there are no vacate, restraining, or no-contact orders or judgments in effect, arrest shall be the preferred response whenever an officer witnesses or has probable cause to believe that a person:
    (a) has committed a felony;
    (b) has committed a misdemeanor involving abuse as defined in section one of this chapter;
    (c) has committed an assault and battery in violation of section 13A of chapter 265.

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.

No law officer investigating an incident of domestic violence shall threaten, suggest, or otherwise indicate the arrest of all parties for the purpose of discouraging requests for law enforcement intervention by any party.

No law officer shall be held liable in any civil action regarding personal injury or injury to property brought by any party to a domestic violence incident for an arrest based on probable cause when such officer acted reasonably and in good faith and in compliance with this chapter and the statewide policy as established by the secretary of public safety.

Whenever any law officer investigates an incident of domestic violence, the officer shall immediately file a written incident report in accordance with the standards of the officer's law enforcement agency and, wherever possible, in the form of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The latter information may be submitted voluntarily by the local police on a monthly basis to the crime reporting unit of the criminal history systems board.

The victim shall be provided a copy of the full incident report at no cost upon request to the appropriate law enforcement department.

When a judge or other person authorized to take bail bails any person arrested under the provisions of this chapter, he shall make reasonable efforts to inform the victim of such release prior to or at the time of said release.

When any person charged with or arrested for a crime involving abuse under this chapter is released from custody, the court or emergency response judge shall issue, upon the request of the victim, a written no-contact order prohibiting the person charged or arrested from having any contact with the victim and shall use all reasonable means to notify the victim immediately of release from custody. The victim shall be given at no cost a certified copy of the no-contact order.

Resources - Domestic Violence

RESPOND, Inc.
www.respondinc.org
Domestic Violence Program - Based in Somerville

Portal To Hope

Serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking crimes.
 
Telephone: (781) 306-6678
Medford Office: Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 170 Governors Ave., Medford, MA 02155
Domestic Violence Ended - DOVE http://www.doveinc.net/ 

Hotline - (888) 314 - DOVE

Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance 617-727-5200
Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women 617-248-0922
Service Groups:
Victim Compensation & Assistance
Department of Social Services

617-727-2200
617-727-3171 ext. 551
Domestic Violence Unit - When persons under 18 are involved - Child 800-792-5200
At-Risk Hotline
Disabled Persons Protection Commission
When disabled persons between the ages of 18 & 59 are involved. 24 Hour hotline
800-426-9009
Department of Public Health
Division of Health Care Quality
When residents of nursing homes or other long term care facilities are involved.
24 hour hotline
800-462-5540
Department of Elder Affairs
When persons over 60 years of age or older are involved. 24 hour hotline
800-922-2275
Child Witness to Violence Project
Boston Medical Center
617-534-5000
SafeLink
A Project of Casa Myrna Vasquez
Statewide 24 hour domestic violence hotline
1-877-785-2020
1-877-521-2601 TTY
Asian Shelter & Advocacy Project
24 hour hotline
617-338-2355
HAWC - Help for Abused Woman & Their Children 978-744-6841


An Act Relative to Harassment
Prevention Orders
 G.L. c. 258E

 

 

Effective on May 10, 2010

  • G.L. c. 258E allows victims of stalking, sexual assault and/or harassment to obtain a harassment prevention order against his/her perpetrator.

 

  • G. L. c. 209A -  has not been amended and is still in full force and effect.

 

 

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.

 

 

“HARASSMENT”  

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.

OR

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

 

 

 “Enumerated 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);

22 (rape);

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

District Court

Superior Court

Juvenile Court

 

Note: A plaintiff may only seek relief in Juvenile Court if the plaintiff and defendant are both under the age of 17.

 

 

Remedies

 

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;

Medical expenses;

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.

 

 

10-Day Hearing

 

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.

 

 

Extension

 

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.

 

 

 

Confidentiality

 

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.”

In 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.  

Full Faith & Credit 

Any protection order issued by another jurisdiction shall be given full faith and credit in the Commonwealth. 

Any 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 effect.  

Punishment

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

Both.   

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.  

Persons convicted under 258E must also pay a fine of $25 for deposit into the General Fund.  

Police requirements 

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;

If 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

Provide adequate notice to the victim of his/her rights including, but not limited to, obtaining a harassment prevention order 

Law 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. 

A 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.

 G.L. c. 209A or G.L. c. 258E?

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.