Massachusetts residents who experience domestic violence can get a 209A restraining order to keep their abusers away. It’s important to know what happens when the order ends.
What is a 209A restraining order?
A 209A restraining order is issued by the court to keep an abusive person away from you. This is usually someone living in your household such as a family member, roommate or romantic partner. It can also be a dating partner who doesn’t live with you. 209A restraining orders require the abuser to stay away from you, your children, your home, your workplace and your child’s school. The order is designed to help keep you safe, but it only lasts a certain length of time.
How long does a 209A restraining order last?
A 209A restraining order is only meant to last a specific amount of time such as two weeks, six months or a year. Once it ends, the order is no longer valid, which means that the abuser can approach you and your child. If you’re worried about having contact with the person, you should take measures to try to have the 209A restraining order extended. This can only be done by making a request to the court.
If the court doesn’t extend your 209A restraining order, you can file a new complaint to obtain a new one. You should include evidence that the abuser is again abusing or threatening you and that the abuse has worsened since the expiration of your old order.
While it’s not considered a crime for a person to have a 209A restraining order issued against them, if they violate that order, it’s considered a crime. If your abuser has violated the 209A restraining order, you should immediately report that to law enforcement and the court. It might help to get the order extended even after it ends.