Domestic violence is the most committed but least reported crime in the United States today.
Consider these facts:
- Every 9 seconds a woman is battered in the United States.
- Over 4 million U.S. women are physically assaulted by a partner each year.
- A woman is killed by her partner every 11 days in the United States.
Domestic violence is the abuse of power or control. Domestic violence can be physical or sexual threats or attacks or threats of the same. These criminal acts are designed to control the feelings, thoughts and behavior of the victim. The abuse will often escalate over time, becoming more violent and causing more serious injuries. Emotional abuse and insulting words are almost always part of the domestic abuse pattern, but are not considered criminal acts. Domestic abuse is not caused by alcohol or drugs, depression, lack of money, unemployment, or abuse as a child. These factors can increase the stress on an individual and increase the likelihood of abuse.
The legal definition of abuse is defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A, as follows:
- Actual physical abuse, or an attempt to harm another; or
- Placing another in fear of serious physical harm; or
- Causing another to engage in sexual relations by force or threats of force.
Protection from this type of violence is available in the form of an Abuse Prevention Order. This is also known as a Restraining Order, Protective Order or a 209A Order. This document is a civil court order that intends to provide protection from domestic abuse. The order can be requested at any District, Superior, Probate or Family Court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Emergency orders can be issued when the courts are closed. You can request an order against the following:
- Spouse or former spouse;
- Present of former household member;
- Relative by blood or marriage;
- Parent of a minor child; and
- Present or former boyfriend or girlfirend.
A protective order from a District Court can provide you with temporary support and custody of any children, however only the Family or Probate Court can determine any visitation rights. Minors (under age 18) can request orders also. Generally a parent or guardian needs to be present, however, a Judge can issue an order if the minor appears to be in danger.
Once a protective order is issued, any violation of the conditions on the order is a criminal offense and the violator can be arrested. Police are required to arrest an abuser who violates a protective order. If you have an order in effect and the abuser violates a provision of that order, call the police immediately and report the incident.
The Marlborough Police Department is committed to educating the public of their rights with regard to domestic violence and abuse. If you feel that you are a victim of domestic abuse, call the Marlborough Police Department anytime at (508) 485-1212, or 9-1-1 in an emergency situation, and an officer will answer any questions that you may have and advise you of your options for relief from the abuse. If you have specific questions about Domestic Violence, please call Detective Scott DeCiero at (508) 485-1212 ext. 36953.