Massachusetts Restraining Orders

No one should live in fear. If you or your loved ones are being abused or harassed, help is available. You may qualify for protection.

Mother comforting crying daughter.

2 Types of Restraining Orders

209 Abuse Prevention Order

This type of order is used when your abuser is a family or household member. That means that you are or were:

  • Married,
  • Engaged or dating,
  • Have a child together, or
  • Live together.


258E Harassment Prevention Order

This type of order doesn’t require any special relationship between you and your abuser/harasser. To get this type of Restraining Order, you must show your abuser/harassser committed:

  • 3 or more separate acts of harassment,
  • Unwanted sexual contact, or
  • Certain specified crimes.

Types of Protection You Get

Both types of orders offer you similar protection, such as making your abuser/harasser:

  • Stop abusing and/or harassing you,
  • Stay away from you,
  • Stay away from your home, workplace and/or school,
  • Have no contact with you,
  • Award custody of a child (in some cases), and
  • Pay for out-of-pocket expenses.

The Restraining Order Process

Fill Out Forms

Find out which forms you need and fill them out completely. You want to give the judge as much information as possible.

Temporary Hearing

You'll have a hearing the same day you file your forms. A Temporary Order may be issued that's good for 10 days.

2-Party Hearing

At this hearing, your abuser/harasser may be present to tell their side of the story. If an Order is granted it can be for up to 1 year.