290a Protective (Restraining) Order
In Massachusetts restraining orders are referred to as 209a protective orders. The goal of this court order to offer victims of abuse - -i.e., domestic, physical, or sexual- - with some sort of legal protection. Here, the alleged abuser could face criminal or financial penalties for the violation of a 209a protective order. In order to obtain a Protective order, the victim must present his or her case before a Judge in either a local District Court, Probate and Family Court, Boston Municipal Court, or Superior Court.
It should be noted that filing an abuse prevention order in court is a civil procedure, however, the violation of the order is considered to be criminal in nature. Therefore, when a person violates the order it is considered to be a criminal offense and the person could face up to 2 1/2 years in jail or be fined up to $5,000, or both, if convicted.