There is no charge to get a harassment prevention order.

Where do I apply for a harassment prevention order?

  1. If the defendant is 17 or over, you can file in Superior Court, Boston Municipal Court (BMC), or the District Court whose jurisdiction covers where you live.  You can find a list of courts at your location by searching under city or town for Superior Court, and for the BMC or District Court.  If you are unsure what court covers where you live, you can call the closest court on the list and they will be able to direct you to the right place.
  2. If the defendant is under 17, you should file in the Juvenile Court whose jurisdiction covers where you live. You can find a list of Juvenile Courts using the Court Locator. If you are unsure what court covers where you live, you can call the closest court on the list and they will be able to direct you to the right place.
  3. If you are in crisis and courts are closed, you can call or go to your local police station. The police will give you the forms to fill out and then call a judge. If the judge grants the order, it is only temporary until the next court business day.  The order given to you by the police will tell you which court and when you need to be at the court.

What forms do I file?

  1. Complaint for Protection from Harassment pdf format of Complaint for Protection from Harassment (G.L. c. 258E)
. This includes the affidavit in support of your request, located on the back of the complaint form if you use the preprinted form available at the courthouse.  The affidavit from the online form can be filled out at home but most courts request that the first page of preprinted complaint form (available at the courthouse) be used. They will attach the filled-out affidavit to the preprinted form.
  2. Plaintiff confidential information form pdf format of Plaintiff Confidential Information Form
  3. Defendant information form pdf format of Defendant Information Form (G.L. c. 209A or 258E)

What happens next?

After you fill out the forms, give them back to the Clerk’s office. Court staff will check to see if the defendant is wanted by the police, if there are or have been other restraining orders against the defendant, and/or whether the defendant has any criminal record.  In some courts, court staff may also check your record.  Once this is done, you will be brought into the courtroom.  

Going into court

After you file your papers, you will appear before a judge.  If you have asked for an order without the defendant knowing, the defendant will not be there. The judge will look over your papers and ask you some questions. The judge will decide whether or not to give you the order while you are still at the court.  If the judge issues an order, you will be given a copy of the order by the Clerk’s office after the hearing is over.

The police will attempt to serve the defendant with a copy of the order.  Your local police department receives a copy of the order. You should also keep a copy of the order with you at all times.