SAFEPLAN Court Advocacy
Navigating the court system can be an overwhelming and confusing process. Independence House court advocates assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who request protective orders per M.G.L. c. 209A (209A) and M.G.L. c. 258E (258E) through providing information on legal options and the process of obtaining a protective order; assisting with the completion of all 209A and 258E related paperwork; providing crisis assessment and intervention; developing comprehensive safety plans with victims; and making appropriate referrals to the District Attorneys’ Offices, police, local domestic violence and sexual assault programs, victim compensation, and other resources.
Independence House SAFEPLAN advocates can assist with 209A (Abuse prevention) and 258E (Harassment prevention) order applications in all Cape Cod District and Probate Courthouses (Barnstable, Orleans and Falmouth).
Massachusetts state law, Chapter 209A, recognizes specific relationships as eligible for restraining orders.
You may request an Abuse Prevention Order (“209A-restraining order”) if:
- You and your abuser are or were married,
Or residing together in the same household,
Or in a substantive dating or engagement relationship,
Or related by blood or marriage,
Or you have a child in common;
- and you are suffering from abuse because your abuser has:
harmed or attempted to harm you physically,
or put you in fear of imminent serious physical harm,
or caused you to engage in sexual relations involuntarily by using force, threat or duress;
- and you:
currently live within the geographical area of the court in which you file the complaint.
Or used to live within the geographical area of the court in which you filed the complaint, but you left to avoid abuse.
You may request a Harassment Prevention Order (258E) against someone if:
1. You are suffering from harassment because:
A. someone has committed 3 or more acts:
i. That were willful and malicious. “Malicious” means
characterized by cruelty; hostility or revenge.
ii. and were aimed at you,
iii. and were intended to cause you fear, intimidation, abuse or damage to property. “Abuse” means causing or attempting to cause physical harm, or causing fear of imminent serious physical harm.
iv. and did in fact cause you fear, intimidation, abuse or damage
B. or someone has caused you at least once to engage in sexual relations involuntarily by using force, threat or duress;
C. or someone has committed against you at least once an act that violates the statutes of indecent assault and battery, rape, statutory rape, assault with intent to rape, enticing a child, criminal stalking, criminal harassment, or drugging for sexual intercourse
(Please see General Laws chapter 265 section 13b for more information on these statutes).
2. and you currently live within the geographical area of the court in which you file the complaint.
For a downloadable form with eligibility information please
Please note: Independence House does not issue restraining orders or harassment prevention orders, and any changes to an existing order must be done through the court system. All decisions regarding restraining and harassment prevention orders are up to the judge.
For more information please contact CherylC@indhouse.net or call 508-771-6507.