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Massachusetts Domestic Abuse Laws

Domestic Abuse Laws in Massachusetts

In the state of Massachusetts, it is illegal to commit domestic abuse or domestic violence. In Massachusetts domestic abuse is defined as attempts to cause physical harm, physical harm, threat or fear of causing physical harm, or sexual abuse between household and family members. In other words, any form of criminal abuse by one household or family member upon another is defined as domestic abuse in the state. In reference to the state’s domestic abuse laws ‘family member’ can be the victim’s:

  1. current or former spouse
  2. the parent or step parental
  3. adult child
  4. co-parents
  5. a person in a dating relationship or romantic partner
  6. relationship by marriage or blood that includes the in-laws
  7. former or current roommate
  8. any member who currently or previously resided in the same household.
  9. a legal guardian or foster family of any child

Domestic abuse is not always only a physical act that leaves marks and bruises on the skin surface. Abuse can have horrible psychological and emotional consequences, both on the victim and anyone witnessing it. Domestic violence can be classified as sexual, emotional, or physical in nature. Domestic abuse can also involve neglect and economic control over any of the household members in Massachusetts. Violation of protective order, assault and battery, and witness intimidation are all crimes that are included under domestic abuse.

Statutes of Domestic Abuse in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts domestic abuse laws are coded under two statutes. It is coded under Section 1, Chapter 209A of Title II, Part II of Abusive Prevention laws in Massachusetts. The other part is coded under Section 13M, Chapter 265, Title I of Part IV of Battery and Assault on Household or Family member.

Domestic Abuse Laws Massachusetts
Penalties for Domestic Abuse in Massachusetts

In the commonwealth of Massachusetts any person who is found guilty of battery and assault or simple assault of a household or family member can be penalized for:

  1. Up to a maximum of five years in the Massachusetts state prison or up to two years in a correctional facility if the offender is found guilty of a subsequent offense.
  2. Along with or instead of a fine of up to five thousand dollars.
  3. In some cases, the offender is sentenced to complete a certified batterer’s state intervention program.

The Judge and the court will consider the enlisted factors to define if the people involved have been in ‘engagement or substantive dating’ relationship:

  1. The type of relationship between the offender and the victim
  2. The duration of the relationship
  3. The frequency of intermingling among the two parties
  4. If the relationship was over, then how long ago was that.
Massachusetts Domestic Abuse Laws

Protection Provided by the Massachusetts State

Along with criminal prosecution, there are several legal protections and remedies available for domestic abuse victims in the state of Massachusetts. They include the following things:

Protective Order:

Victims of domestic abuse in Massachusetts can apply for a protective order. It is a form of restraining order that mandated the offender to keep a certain distance away from you and your home. An abuser who is found in violation of the protective order will be arrested even before any violent act takes place. In M this order is also known as the ‘209A order.’

Address Confidentiality Program:

Victims of domestic abuse in Massachusetts can be assigned a legal substitute address that can be used as a substitute for their physical address. Usually, it is a post office box in the victim’s name, this is used whenever necessary by any public agency. Any first-class mail of the victim is redirected from the substitute address to the victim’s actual address.

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