Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New law extends reach of restraining order.

Massachusetts has a new law extending protection to victims of harassment. The new law, chapter 258E of the General laws is for victims of harassment which are often not persons covered under our existing 209A protective restraining order statute.
The complainant should have experienced 3 instances of harassment which is defined here in section 1 : "...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; or (ii) an act that: (A) by force, threat or duress causes another to involuntarily engage in sexual relations; or (B) constitutes a violation of section 13B, 13F, 13H, 22, 22A, 23, 24, 24B, 26C, 43 or 43A of chapter 265 or section 3 of chapter 272."
This protective order can be issued against people who are not domestic partners or family members. Violations of a protective order are criminal offenses.
An article in the Globe here gives some history to the issue.