top of page
Restraining Order - 209A

What can you do to ask for some protection against a person who is physically or emotionally abusing you?  


Here there is a court order which is called a restraining order which is form 209A. This is a civil order that you have the right to enforce in court during regular hours, or with the police outside court hours. 


This order orders the defendant to: 

-not to contact you personally or through third parties 

-to stay away from your home, work, school, and yourself. 


To apply for an order, it is necessary to go to the Clerks Office at the courthouse. In the state of MA every court has a person called Safeplan Advocate  assigned to help you with filling out the forms and also who can give you emotional support and refer you to services that can help you with other needs that you may have that derive from your current situation. These Safeplan advocates are people who work at the courthouse, but who are employed by the domestic violence agency to help victims who pass through there. 


I always like to make it very clear that there is no immigration or police involved when you go in to make an order like this in court.  


I'll explain what it takes to ask for an order, and then I'll give an example of a process for someone arriving to place one. 


First:  The protective measure order is made against a person who: 

-you have or had a romantic relationship 

-or who is the parent of one of your children 

-or who live or have lived together in the same residence, 

-Or blood relatives. 


Second:  That this person: 

-has committed or attempted to commit physical aggression against you 

-or that you fear that this person is about to physically harm you 

-or that this person used physical force, threat, or coercion to force you to perform sexual acts against your will 


Third: You must have the person's first and last name and also the full address. Without this information it will not be possible to apply for an order. 


Here is the protective measure order form



Step-by-step example of what happens when you arrive at court: 


-Go to the clerks office and say that you need a protective order called a restraining order. Right there, if you don't speak English, ask for a translator. Even if you speak a little English, it is important that you ask for the translator now so that you don't have to wait so long for one to arrive to help you with your audience. 


-Clerk will give you the papers and refer you to a Safeplan Advocate. 


-Inside the room you will sit down and tell a little of your story, fill out the papers, including a sworn statement. In case you don't speak English, you will fill this paper in Portuguese, and the translator will make the necessary translation. Soon after, the safeplan advocate will give you some necessary information and will hand the forms back to the clerks so they can put them in the system. 


-In the case of people who have children with the defendant, it will be necessary to fill out a second form where you will be able to enter information about the children. There you will be able to choose to have full custody, choose whether to let him have contact with the child, and how the visit will be. 


-The clerks will tell you which courtroom your case will be heard in. 


-You will enter this room and sit until your name is called. 


-When called, the judge will ask you some questions and at that moment it is very important that you explain why you need this order. 


-If the judge decides to approve your order, it will only be valid for 10 days. 


-You will go back to the clerks office to pick up the copy of the approved order and there you will have the next date to appear in court, which will be 10 days. 


- Within these 10 days, the defendant will be served the court papers where he learns that there is a protective measure order against him, and that he has the right to appear on that date. 


-When you appear in court for your second hearing, the defendant may or may not appear, and it is up to the judge to extend the order up to 1 year. 


It is important to know that: 

-If the defendant has firearms, he will be obliged to hand them all over to the police. 


-If the defendant lives in the house, and his order includes his address where he cannot approach, he will have to leave the house as soon as the papers are served and he will not be able to approach the place._cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_


-If there are children involved, what was chosen on the form regarding them will also be in effect until the date that the order of the protective measure expires. 


-This order is Civil, and becomes criminal the moment the defendant violates the terms stipulated by it. 


-If you have any violation of this order, call the police immediately and explain what happened. In this case, the defendant will be arrested, depending on the violation, he pays a bail and remains in freedom until the date of the new hearing. 



Here is the list of agencies that offer Safeplan Advocates in court



Screen Shot 2021-12-28 at 9.12.35 AM.png
Judges Examining Document
Screen Shot 2021-12-28 at 9.15.10 AM.png
A hug
Confident Look
bottom of page