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An Abuse Prevention Order, called a "209A order," a "protective order," or a "restraining order," is a civil court order intended to provide protection from physical or sexual harm caused by force or threat of harm from a family or household member. You can obtain an order against:
A 209A order can be obtained in any District Court, Superior Court, or Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts. An emergency 209A order can be obtained through any police department after court hours, on weekends and holidays. You do not need a lawyer to file for a 209A Order and there is no charge for filing. An emergency 209A order will only be valid until the next business day at which time a victim has to appear in District Court to extend the order.
Should you decide to go to a District Court for a 209A order, you may go to the District Court in the area where you live or, if you have fled to another area to avoid abuse, you may go to the District Court in the area where you now live.
Go to the Clerk’s Office in the court and ask for a "protective order" or a "209A order." You will receive a packet of forms to complete as an application for a protective order.
In some courts, there may be a Court Advocate from a local battered women’s service agency to help you with the form. A Victim/Witness Advocate from the District Attorney’s Office is also usually available for assistance and to discuss the option of filing criminal charges against your abuser. Ask someone at the Clerk’s Office to direct you to the District Attorney’s Victim/ Witness Office for help. You do not have to file criminal charges in order to obtain a 209A order. However, criminal charges can be helpful in holding a batterer responsible for criminal acts committed against you. If there is a criminal violation, the Court can also require a batterer to obtain counseling or other treatment.