Massachusetts' Harassment Law

Massachusetts has enacted a harassment law that allows victims of the following crimes to obtain a restraining order against the offender that is similar to the current domestic violence restraining orders:

  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Harassment, which is defined by the law as “3 or more acts of willful and malicious conduct aimed at a specific person committed with the intent to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property and that does in fact cause fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property”

What is the Difference Between a Protective Order Under this Law vs. one Under the Domestic Violence Law?

Domestic violence orders can only be obtained if there is a relationship between the victim and offender, such as a “significant dating relationship” or household relationship, etc. This new law extends those protections to victims who have less or no previous relationship with the offender.

The law now offers similar protections to victims of these crimes by allowing an officer to arrest an offender:

  • Whom he or she witnesses or has violated such a restraining order
  • Has committed a misdemeanor involving harassment as defined in the law
  • Or, has committed assault and battery as defined in Massachusetts General Law chapter 265 section 13A.

What should I do if I am the Victim of any of the Crimes Listed Above?

As with any crime occurring on campus, you can call Public Safety 24 hours a day. An officer will discuss your circumstances, and assist you in obtaining the proper assistance. Officers can help provide connections to medical care, support services, and victim/witness services. Officers can assist you in documenting the circumstances which can aid in obtaining a protection order, filing charges, and otherwise helping you to develop a safety plan. Officers can assist you in applying for a protection order or filing charges if they are appropriate to your situation.