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The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to establish a specific penalty for perpetrators of domestic abuse, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

Chapter 265 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 13L the following section:-

Section 13M. Whoever is convicted of a second or subsequent offense of assault or assault and battery on a family or household member shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years. For the purposes of this section, "family or household member" shall be limited to persons who: (a) are married to each other or were married to each other within the 5 years preceding the date of the alleged offense; (b) are residing together in the same household or were residing together in the same household within the 5 years preceding the date of the alleged offense; (c) are related by blood; (d) have a child in common; or (e) are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the 5 years preceding the date of the alleged offense; provided, however, that in determining that relationship, the court shall consider 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 that has elapsed since the termination of the relationship.

Approved January 16, 2009