General Laws

Section 116A. (a) The municipal police training committee shall establish within the recruit basic training curriculum a course for regional and municipal police training schools on or before January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven for the training of law enforcement officers in the commonwealth in the handling of domestic violence complaints and also shall develop guidelines for law enforcement response to domestic violence. The course of instruction and the guidelines shall stress enforcement of criminal laws in domestic violence situations, availability of civil remedies and community resources, and protection of the victim. Where appropriate, the training presenters shall include domestic violence experts with expertise in the delivery of direct services to victims of domestic violence, including utilizing the staff of shelters for battered women in the presentation of training.

As used in this section, “law enforcement officer” shall mean any officer of a local police department, the office of environmental law enforcement, the University of Massachusetts, capital and state police. As used in this section, “victim” shall mean any child or adult victim of abuse, including elder victims.

(b) The course of basic training for law enforcement officers shall, no later than January first, nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, include at least eight hours of instruction in the procedures and techniques described below:

(1) The procedures and responsibilities set forth in chapter two hundred and nine A of the General Laws relating to response to and enforcement of court orders, including violations of said chapter two hundred and nine A orders.

(2) The service of said chapter two hundred and nine A complaints and orders.

(3) Verification and enforcement of temporary restraining and vacate orders when the suspect is present and the suspect has fled.

(4) The legal duties imposed on police officers to offer protection and assistance, including guidelines for making felony and misdemeanor arrests, and for mandatory reporting of child and elder abuse cases.

(5) Techniques for handling domestic violence incidents that minimize likelihood of injury to the officer and that promote the safety of the victim.

(6) The nature and extent of domestic violence.

(7) The legal rights and the remedies available to victims of domestic violence.

(8) Documentation, report writing and evidence collection.

(9) Tenancy and custody issues, including those of married and unmarried couples.

(10) The impact of law enforcement intervention on children in domestic violence situations.

(11) The services and facilities available to victims of abuse, including the victim’s compensation programs, emergency shelters and legal advocacy programs.

(c) All law enforcement recruits shall receive the course of basic training for law enforcement officers, established in subsections (a) and (b), as part of their required certification process.

(d) The course of basic training for law enforcement officers shall be taught as part of the crisis intervention and conflict resolution components of the recruit academy training, so that there will not be an increase in the currently required four hundred and eighty hours of recruit training curriculum.

(e) The course of instruction, the learning and performance objectives, the standards for training, and the guidelines shall be developed by the municipal police training committee in consultation with appropriate groups and individuals having an interest and expertise in the field of domestic violence.

(f) The municipal police training committee periodically may include within its in-service training curriculum a course of instruction on handling domestic violence complaints consistent with the provisions of subparagraphs one through eleven of paragraph (b) of this act.