Massachusetts General Law, C.209-A (1978) Abuse Law

“You have the right to go to 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:

  1. an order restraining your attacker from abusing you;
  2. an order directing your attacker to leave your household;
  3. an order awarding you custody of a minor child;
  4. an order directing your attacker to pay support for you or any minor child in your custody, if the attacker has a legal obligation to support them; and
  5. an order directing your attacker to pay you for the losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including medical and moving expenses, loss of earnings or support, attorneys fees, and other out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained.

For an emergency on weekends, holidays, or weeknights, you should contact the police, who 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 the 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 insured.”

Symptoms of Abuse – Threats, Power Misuse & Control

Do any of the following symptoms fit your life?

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Putting the other person down
  • Making the other person feel bad about themselves
  • Calling the other person names
  • Making the other person think they are crazy
  • Playing mind games
  • Humiliating the other person
  • Making the other person feel guilty

Using Privileges

  • Treating the other person like a servant
  • Making all the big decisions
  • Acting like the master of the castle
  • Being the one who determines the roles

Using Economic Abuse

  • Preventing the other person from getting or keeping a job
  • Making the other person ask for money
  • Giving the other person an allowance
  • Taking the other person’s money
  • Not letting the other person know about or have access to family income

Using Coercion & Threats

  • Making or carrying out threats to do something to hurt the other person
  • Threatening to leave the other person, to commit suicide, report the other person to welfare
  • Making the other person drop charges
  • Making the other person do illegal things

Using Intimidation

  • Making the other person afraid by using looks, gestures, or actions
  • Smashing things
  • Abusing pets
  • Displaying weapons

Using Children

  • Making the other person feel guilty about the children
  • Using the children to relay messages
  • Using visitation to harass the other person
  • Threatening to take the children away

Using Isolation

  • Controlling what the other person does, who they see and talk to, what’s read, and where they go
  • Limiting their outside involvement
  • Using jealousy to justify actions

Minimizing, Denying, Blaming

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking the other person’s concerns about it seriously
  • Saying the abuse never happened
  • Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
  • Saying the other person caused it

Does your partner:

  • Blame everyone else especially you, for his or her mistakes
  • Prevent you from seeing your family or friends?
  • Curse you, say mean things, mock you or humiliate you?
  • Force you to have sex or force you to engage in sex that makes you feel uncomfortable?
  • Restrain, hit, punch, slap, or kick you?
  • Intimidate or threaten you?
  • Ever prevent you from leaving the house, getting a job, or continuing your education?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship. The Tewksbury Police Department can assist orders of protection and counseling.

Additional Resources

Contact Us

Tewksbury Police Department

918 Main Street
Tewksbury, MA 01876

Non-Emergency Phone: (978) 851-7373 press 0
Emergency: 911

Alternatives for Battered Women

Alternative House Emergency Crisis Hotline (24 Hours)
Toll Free: (888) 291-6228
Phone: (978) 454-1436

Services Provided

  • Shelter
  • Community Education
  • Multi-Lingual
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Housing Advocacy
  • Medical and Social Service Referrals