Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Section 34C of chapter 208 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1988 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "nine", in line 6, the following words:- or section three, four or five of chapter two hundred and nine A or section fifteen or twenty of chapter two hundred and nine C or an order for custody pursuant to any abuse prevention action.
SECTION 2. Chapter 209A of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 1, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 1. As used in this chapter the following words shall have the following meanings:
"Abuse", the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:
(a) attempting to cause or causing physical harm;
(b) placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;
(c) causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.
"Court", the superior, probate and family, district or Boston municipal court departments of the trial court, except when the petitioner is in a dating relationship when "Court" shall mean district, probate, or Boston municipal courts.
"Family or household members", persons who:
(a) are or were married to one another;
(b) are or were residing together in the same household;
(c) are or were related by blood or marriage;
(d) having a child in common regardless or whether they have ever married or lived together; or
(e) are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship, which shall be adjudged by district, probate or Boston municipal courts consideration of the following factors:
(1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship.
"Law officer", any officer authorized to serve criminal process.
"Vacate order", court order to leave and remain away from a premises and surrendering forthwith any keys to said premises to the plaintiff. The defendant shall not damage any of the plaintiff's belongings or those of any other occupant and shall not shut off or cause to be shut off any utilities or mail delivery to the plaintiff. In the case where the premises designated in the vacate order is a residence, so long as the plaintiff is living at said residence, the defendant shall not interfere in any way with the plaintiff's right to possess such residence, except by order or judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to appropriate civil eviction proceedings, a petition to partition real estate, or a proceeding to divide marital property. A vacate order may include in its scope a household, a multiple family dwelling and the plaintiff's workplace. When issuing an order to vacate the plaintiff's workplace, the presiding justice must consider whether the plaintiff and defendant work in the same location or for the same employer.
SECTION 3. Said chapter 209A is hereby further amended by striking out section 3, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 3. A person suffering from abuse from an adult or minor family or household member may file a complaint in the court requesting protection from such abuse, including, but not limited to, the following orders:
(a) ordering the defendant to refrain from abusing the plaintiff, whether the defendant is an adult or minor;
(b) ordering the defendant to refrain from contacting the plaintiff, unless authorized by the court, whether the defendant is an adult or minor;
(c) ordering the defendant to vacate forthwith and remain away from the household, multiple family dwelling, and workplace. Notwithstanding the provisions of section thirty-four B of chapter two hundred and eight, an order to vacate shall be for a fixed period of time, not to exceed one year, at the expiration of which time the court may extend any such order upon motion of the plaintiff, with notice to the defendant, for such additional time as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff from abuse;
(d) awarding the plaintiff temporary custody of a minor child;
(e) ordering the defendant to pay temporary support for the plaintiff or any child in the plaintiff's custody or both, when the defendant has a legal obligation to support such a person. In determining the amount to be paid, the court shall apply the standards established in the child support guidelines;
(f) ordering the defendant to pay the person abused monetary compensation for the losses suffered as a direct result of such abuse. Compensatory losses shall include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or support, costs for restoring utilities, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, replacement costs for locks or personal property removed or destroyed, medical and moving expenses and reasonable attorney's fees;
(g) ordering the plaintiff's address to be impounded as provided in section nine;
(h) ordering the defendant to refrain from abusing or contacting the plaintiff's child, or child in plaintiff's care or custody, unless authorized by the court;
(i) the judge may recommend to the defendant that the defendant attend a recognized batterer's treatment program.
No filing fee shall be charged for the filing of the complaint. Neither the plaintiff nor the plaintiff's attorney shall be charged for certified copies of any orders entered by the court, or any copies of the file reasonably required for future court action or as a result of the loss or destruction of plaintiff's copies.
Any relief granted by the court shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year. Every order shall on its face state the time and date the order is to expire and shall include the date and time that the matter will again be heard. If the plaintiff appears at the court at the date and time the order is to expire, the court shall determine whether or not to extend the order for any additional time reasonably necessary to protect the plaintiff or to enter a permanent order. When the expiration date stated on the order is on a weekend day or holiday, or a date when the court is closed to business, the order shall not expire until the next date that the court is open to business. The plaintiff may appear on such next court business day at the time designated by the order to request that the order be extended. The court may also extend the order upon motion of the plaintiff, for such additional time as it deems necessary to protect from abuse the plaintiff or any child in the plaintiff's care or custody. The fact that abuse has not occurred during the pendency of an order shall not, in itself, constitute sufficient ground for denying or failing to extend the order, of allowing an order to expire or be vacated, or for refusing to issue a new order.
The court may modify its order at any subsequent time upon motion by either party. When the plaintiff's address is impounded and the defendant has filed a motion to modify the court's order, the court shall be responsible for notifying the plaintiff. In no event shall the court disclose any impounded address.
No order under this chapter shall in any manner affect title to real property.
No court shall compel parties to mediate any aspect of their case. Although the court may refer the case to the family service office of the probation department or victim/witness advocates for information gathering purposes, the court shall not compel the parties to meet together in such information gathering sessions.
A court shall not deny any complaint filed under this chapter solely because it was not filed within a particular time period after the last alleged incident of abuse.
A court may issue a mutual restraining order or mutual no-contact order pursuant to any abuse prevention action only if the court has made specific written findings of fact. The court shall then provide a detailed order, sufficiently specific to apprise any law officer as to which party has violated the order, if the parties are in or appear to be in violation of the order.
Any action commenced under the provisions of this chapter shall not preclude any other civil or criminal remedies. A party filing a complaint under this chapter shall be required to disclose any prior or pending actions involving the parties for divorce, annulment, paternity, custody or support, guardianship, separate support or legal separation, or abuse prevention.
If there is a prior or pending custody support order from the probate and family court department of the trial court, an order issued in the superior, district or Boston municipal court departments of the trial court pursuant to this chapter may include any relief available pursuant to this chapter except orders for custody or support.
If the parties to a proceeding under this chapter are parties in a subsequent proceeding in the probate and family court department for divorce, annulment, paternity, custody or support, guardianship or separate support, any custody or support order or judgment issued in the subsequent proceeding shall supersede any prior custody or support order under this chapter.
SECTION 4. Said chapter 209A is hereby further amended by striking out section 4, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4. Upon the filing of a complaint under this chapter, the court may enter such temporary orders as it deems necessary to protect a plaintiff from abuse, including relief as provided in section three. Such relief shall not be contingent upon the filing of a complaint for divorce, separate support, or paternity action.
If the plaintiff demonstrates a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse, the court may enter such temporary relief orders without notice as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff from abuse and shall immediately thereafter notify the defendant that the temporary orders have been issued. The court shall give the defendant an opportunity to be heard on the question of continuing the temporary order and of granting other relief as requested by the plaintiff no later than ten court business days after such orders are entered.
Notice shall be made by the appropriate law enforcement agency as provided in section seven.
If the defendant does not appear at such subsequent hearing, the temporary orders shall continue in effect without further order of the court.
SECTION 5. Section 5 of said chapter 209A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the first sentence the following sentence:- In the discretion of the justice, such relief may be granted and communicated by telephone to an officer or employee of an appropriate law enforcement agency, who shall record such order on a form of order promulgated for such use by the chief administrative justice and shall deliver a copy of such order on the next court day to the clerk-magistrate of the court having venue and jurisdiction over the matter.
SECTION 6. Said section 5 of said chapter 209A is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "clerk-magistrate", in line 13, the words:- or register.
SECTION 7. Said chapter 209A is hereby further amended by striking out section 6, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 6. Whenever any law officer has reason to believe that a family or household member has been abused or is in danger of being abused, such officer shall use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse. The officer shall take, but not be limited to the following action:
(1) remain on the scene of where said abuse occurred or was in danger of occurring as long as the officer has reason to believe that at least one of the parties involved would be in immediate physical danger without the presence of a law officer. This shall include, but not be limited to remaining in the dwelling for a reasonable period of time;
(2) assist the abused person in obtaining medical treatment necessitated by an assault, which may include driving the victim to the emergency room of the nearest hospital, or arranging for appropriate transportation to a health care facility, notwithstanding any law to the contrary;
(3) assist the abused person in locating and getting to a safe place; including but not limited to a designated meeting place for a shelter or a family member's or friend's residence. The officer shall consider the victim's preference in this regard and what is reasonable under all the circumstances;
(4) give such person immediate and adequate notice of his or her rights. Such notice shall consist of handing said person a copy of the statement which follows below and reading the same to said person. Where said person's native language is not English, the statement shall be then provided in said person's native language whenever possible.
"You have the right to appear at the Superior, Probate and Family, District or Boston Municipal Court, if you reside within the appropriate jurisdiction, and file a complaint requesting any of the following applicable orders: (a) an order restraining your attacker from abusing you; (b) an order directing your attacker to leave your household, building or workplace; (c) an order awarding you custody of a minor child; (d) an order directing your attacker to pay support for you or any minor child in your custody, if the attacker has a legal obligation of support; and (e) an order directing your attacker to pay you for losses suffered as a result of abuse, including medical and moving expenses, loss of earnings or support, costs for restoring utilities and replacing locks, reasonable attorney's fees and other out-of-pocket losses for injuries and property damage sustained.
For an emergency on weekends, holidays, or weeknights the police will refer you to a justice of the superior, probate and family, district, or Boston municipal court departments.
You have the right to go to the appropriate district court or the Boston municipal court and seek a criminal complaint for threats, assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to kill or other related offenses.
If you are in need of medical treatment, you have the right to request that an officer present drive you to the nearest hospital or otherwise assist you in obtaining medical treatment.
If you believe that police protection is needed for your physical safety, you have the right to request that the officer present remain at the scene until you and your children can leave or until your safety is otherwise ensured. You may also request that the officer assist you in locating and taking you to a safe place, including but not limited to a designated meeting place for a shelter or a family member's or a friend's residence, or a similar place of safety.
You may request a copy of the police incident report at no cost from the police department."
The officer shall leave a copy of the foregoing statement with such person before leaving the scene or premises.
(5) assist such person by activating the emergency judicial system when the court is closed for business;
(6) inform the victim that the abuser will be eligible for bail and may be promptly released; and
(7) arrest any person a law officer witnesses or has probable cause to believe has violated a temporary or permanent vacate, restraining, or no-contact order or judgment issued pursuant to section eighteen, thirty-four B or thirty-four C of chapter two hundred and eight, section thirty-two of chapter two hundred and nine, section three, four or five of this chapter, or sections fifteen or twenty of chapter two hundred and nine C. When there are no vacate, restraining, or no-contact orders or judgments in effect, arrest shall be the preferred response whenever an officer witnesses or has probable cause to believe that a person:
(a) has committed a felony;
(b) has committed a misdemeanor involving abuse as defined in section one of this chapter;
(c) has committed an assault and battery in violation of section thirteen A of chapter two hundred and sixty-five.
The safety of the victim and any involved children shall be paramount in any decision to arrest. Any officer arresting both parties must submit a detailed, written report in addition to an incident report, setting forth the grounds for dual arrest.
No law officer investigating an incident of domestic violence shall threaten, suggest, or otherwise indicate the arrest of all parties for the purpose of discouraging requests for law enforcement intervention by any party.
No law officer shall be held liable in any civil action regarding personal injury or injury to property brought by any party to a domestic violence incident for an arrest based on probable cause when such officer acted reasonably and in good faith and in compliance with this chapter and the statewide policy as established by the secretary of public safety.
Whenever any law officer investigates an incident of domestic violence, the officer shall immediately file a written incident report in accordance with the standards of the officer's law enforcement agency and, wherever possible, in the form of the National Incident-Based Reporting System, as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The latter information may be submitted voluntarily by the local police on a monthly basis to the crime reporting unit of the criminal history systems board.
The victim shall be provided a copy of the full incident report at no cost upon request to the appropriate law enforcement department.
When a judge or other person authorized to take bail bails any person arrested under the provisions of this chapter, he shall make reasonable efforts to inform the victim of such release prior to or at the time of said release.
When any person charged with or arrested for a crime involving abuse under this chapter is released from custody, the court or the emergency response judge shall issue, upon the request of the victim, a written no-contact order prohibiting the person charged or arrested from having any contact with the victim and shall use all reasonable means to notify the victim immediately of release from custody. The victim shall be given at no cost a certified copy of the no-contact order.
SECTION 8. Section 7 of said chapter 209A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first and second paragraphs and inserting in place thereof the following seven paragraphs:-
Whenever the court orders under sections eighteen, thirty-four B, and thirty-four C of chapter two hundred and eight, section thirty-two of chapter two hundred and nine, sections three, four and five of this chapter, or sections fifteen and twenty of chapter two hundred and nine C, the defendant to vacate, refrain from abusing the plaintiff or to have no contact with the plaintiff or the plaintiff's minor child, the register or clerk-magistrate shall transmit two certified copies of each such order and one copy of the complaint and summons forthwith to the appropriate law enforcement agency which, unless otherwise ordered by the court, shall serve one copy of each order upon the defendant, together with a copy of the complaint, order and summons. The law enforcement agency shall promptly make its return of service to the court.
Law enforcement officers shall use every reasonable means to enforce such abuse prevention orders. Law enforcement agencies shall establish procedures adequate to insure that an officer on the scene of an alleged violation of such order may be informed of the existence and terms of such order. The court shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency in writing whenever any such order is vacated and shall direct the agency to destroy all record of such vacated order and such agency shall comply with that directive.
Each abuse prevention order issued shall contain the following statement: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.
Any violation of such order shall be punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a house of correction, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Where the defendant has no prior record of any crime of violence and where the court believes, after evaluation by a certified or provisionally certified batterer's treatment program, that the defendant is amenable to treatment, the court may, in addition to any other penalty, order appropriate treatment as specified in this section. If a defendant ordered to undergo treatment has received a suspended sentence, the original sentence shall be reimposed if the defendant fails to participate in said program as required by the terms of his probation.
When a defendant has been ordered to participate in a treatment program pursuant to this section, the defendant shall be required to regularly attend a certified or provisionally certified batterer's treatment program. To the extent permitted by professional requirements of confidentiality, said program shall communicate with local battered women's programs for the purpose of protecting the victim's safety. Additionally, it shall specify the defendant's attendance requirements and keep the probation department informed of whether the defendant is in compliance.
In addition to, but not in lieu of, such orders for treatment, if the defendant has a substance abuse problem, the court may order appropriate treatment for such problem. All ordered treatment shall last until the end of the probationary period or until the treatment program decides to discharge the defendant, whichever comes first. When the defendant is not in compliance with the terms of probation, the court shall hold a revocation of probation hearing. To the extent possible, the defendant shall be responsible for paying all costs for court ordered treatment.
In each instance where there is a violation of an abuse prevention order, the court may order the defendant to pay the plaintiff for all damages including, but not limited to, cost for shelter or emergency housing, loss of earnings or support, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained or property damaged, medical expenses, moving expenses, cost for obtaining an unlisted telephone number, and reasonable attorney's fees.
SECTION 9. Section 13 of chapter 209C of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after the first sentence the following sentence:-
Section 5A. For good cause shown, the court shall impound a party's address by excluding it from the complaint and from all other court documents and testimony, and shall ensure that the address is kept confidential from each other party except the IV-D agency as set forth in chapter one hundred and nineteen A.
SECTION 10. Section 15 of said chapter 209C, as appearing in the 1988 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
At any time pursuant to an action under this chapter, the court may upon motion of any party or on its own motion issue a temporary order or final judgment including a vacate, restraining or no-contact order to protect a party or child. Any such order or judgment, including a custody provision if issued by a probate court, shall be served as specified under sections four and seven of chapter two hundred and nine A and shall contain the following statement: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. Criminal violations of such orders shall be enforced pursuant to section seven of chapter two hundred and nine A.
SECTION 11. Said section 15 of said chapter 209C is hereby further amended by striking the last paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
All orders entered pursuant to this section, unless modified or revoked pursuant to section twenty or twenty-three of chapter two hundred and nine C, shall continue in force and be incorporated in the final judgment. Violations of any order or judgment may be punished as contempt.
SECTION 12. Section 20 of said chapter 209C, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- Except as restricted by section twenty-three, the court may also modify a judgment to protect a party or child.
SECTION 13. Section 28 of chapter 276 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- Any officer authorized to serve criminal process may arrest, without a warrant, and detain a person found in the act of stealing property in the presence of the officer regardless of the value of the property stolen and may arrest, without a warrant, and detain a person whom the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a misdemeanor by violating a temporary or permanent vacate, restraining, or no-contact order or judgment issued pursuant to section eighteen, thirty-four B or thirty-four C of chapter two hundred and eight, section three, four or five of chapter two hundred and nine A, section thirty-two of chapter two hundred and nine, or section fifteen or twenty of chapter two hundred and nine C.
SECTION 14. The secretary of public safety shall establish a policy for law enforcement response to domestic violence consistent with the provisions of this act; provided, however, that he may revise, terminate, or revoke such policy at his discretion. Such policy shall be developed after consultation with the director of the victim assistance office, at least two representatives of a certified or provisionally certified batterer's treatment program, and at least four representatives from the governor's anti-crime council including at least one district attorney, one member of the Massachusetts bar experienced in criminal defense, one police chief and one judge or his designee. Such policy for law enforcement response to domestic violence shall be promulgated within six months of the effective date of this act.
SECTION 15. Each law enforcement agency shall establish and implement specific operational guidelines consistent with the policy established under the provisions of section fourteen or adopt said policy. Local operational guidelines shall be submitted to the secretary of public safety for review within sixty days of the adoption of said policy. The secretary shall provide written notice of approval of the local guidelines within thirty days of receipt of said guidelines. Upon approval, said guidelines shall be effective immediately at the local law enforcement agency. Prior to, or in the absence of approved guidelines, the law enforcement agency shall implement said policy.
SECTION 16. Within six months of the effective date of this act, guidelines and standards for the certification of batterer's treatment programs by the department of public health shall be set up by a commission to be established by the chief justice of the trial court department, one member of which shall be a district attorney or his designee, two of which shall be members of a recognized batterer's treatment program with training experience, two of which shall be members of a domestic violence program or the statewide coalition of programs which provide services to victims of domestic violence and one of whom shall be a member from a probation department. Prior to the establishment of such guidelines and standards, the department of public health may provisionally certify batterer's treatment programs pursuant to regulations promulgated by the department. Such provisional certification shall expire upon establishment of guidelines under this section.
The department of public health shall thereafter certify and monitor batterer's treatment programs according to the standards established and promulgated by the commission. Programs so certified shall be the only batterer's treatment programs appropriate for court referrals.