Request an abuse prevention order

Do you need protection from someone who is abusing you? Find out how to request an abuse prevention order.

Probate and Family Court locations

The Details of Request an abuse prevention order

What you need for Request an abuse prevention order

You’ll need to go in person to the proper court location or police station (if court is closed) to get the necessary paperwork. You’ll need to file:

You may also need to file:

There is no fee to get an abuse prevention order.

Need help? See resources if you're being abused or harassed.

How to request Request an abuse prevention order

  • During regular business hours on weekdays — You can go to the Boston Municipal Court (BMC), District Court, Probate and Family Court, or Superior Court whose jurisdiction covers where you live to file your paperwork. If you’re not sure what court covers where you live, you can call the closest court on the list and they’ll be able to direct you to the right place.
  • If you've left home since the abuse — You can choose to go to a court whose jurisdiction covers where you’re staying. Go to the civil clerk’s office and tell them you want to ask for a 209A order. They will give you the forms you need.
  • If it’s an emergency 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 only lasts 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.

Next steps for Request an abuse prevention order

  1. Going to court

    After you fill out the forms, give them back to the clerk’s office to file. 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 whether the defendant has any criminal record. In some courts, court staff may also check your record. Once this is done, you’ll be brought into the courtroom to appear before a judge.

    If you have asked for an order without the defendant knowing, the defendant won’t 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’re still there. You’ll 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.

  2. 10-day hearing

    The date and time for the next court hearing will be listed on the order. The name and location of the court that issued the order is listed in the top right hand corner. During that hearing, the judge will listen to the evidence and decide if the order should continue to remain in effect, be amended in some way(s), or be ended. Both the plaintiff and the defendant have a right to be heard at the hearing and to present evidence that the judge finds relevant. If you don’t appear at the next scheduled court hearing, the order will expire at the end of that court day.

    If the judge grants the order, it will be in effect for up to 1 year. The order will say how long it will last, and will tell you when you need to go back to court if you want to renew it.

    If you want to renew the order, you’ll need to go back to court on the return/expiration date on the order, and ask for the order to be renewed or the order will expire.

More info about Request an abuse prevention order

If you aren’t given an order or not given everything you request, you can appeal. You have 30 days to appeal after the judge makes their decision. No matter what court issued the order, you must appeal to the Appeals Court. To start your appeal, you must file a Notice of Appeal at the clerk’s office of the court that issued the order within 30 days of your hearing. See the Appeals Court Help Center for more information on the appeals process.

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