SAFEPLAN Court Advocacy Program
Helping victims of domestic abuse
SAFEPLAN Advocates are available Monday-Friday from 8:30AM-4:30PM in the Hingham, Wareham, and Plymouth District Courts as well as the Plymouth Probate and Family Court.
What is SAFEPLAN?
SAFEPLAN is a statewide program under the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in which specifically trained court-based advocates assist survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking with obtaining protection from abuse. SAFEPLAN advocates are available to help individuals with the restraining order process and all that it entails.
Keep yourself safe when preparing to leave an abusive relationship.
Consult with an advocate from your local domestic violence program who can inform you of your rights and options.
SAFEPLAN ADVOCATE’S ROLE
The two primary functions of a SAFEPLAN Advocate are to help enhance safety and provide information to victims of family and intimate partner violence.
- Provide information on how to obtain a protective order and explain the differences between an Abuse Prevention Order (M.G.L. Chapter 209A) and a Harassment Prevention Order (M.G.L. Chapter 258E)
- Offer court accompaniment and emotional support
- Make you aware of your options and rights
- Provide you with assistance in filling out the restraining order paperwork
- Conduct a risk assessment
- Help you create a personalized safety plan, regardless of whether you file for a restraining order
- Make referrals and provide resources based upon your specific wants and needs
- Offer information about domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking
ABUSE PREVENTION ORDER (CHAPTER 209A)
The abuse prevention law was created to help protect survivors from abuse, and it allows a survivor to petition the court for an abuse prevention order (also known as a 209A order or restraining order).
You can apply for a restraining order at your local courthouse between the hours of 8:30 AM-4:30 PM from Monday through Friday. For assistance after hours (nights, weekends, and holidays), you can speak to your police department, which can help you with filing an emergency restraining order. Assistance is always available to you.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A RESTRAINING ORDER UNDER CHAPTER 209A?
Yes, if you and your abuser meet one of the following 209A criteria:
- Are or were married
- Are residing together in the same household
- Are in a substantive dating or engagement relationship
- Are related to each other by blood or marriage
- Have a child in common
The 209A statute defines abuse as:
- Caused or attempted to cause you physical harm
- Or put you in fear of imminent serious physical harm
- Or caused you to engage in sexual relations involuntarily by using force, threat, or duress
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A HARASSMENT PREVENTION ORDER UNDER CHAPTER 258E?
Qualifying relationships under the 258E law:
- There is no relationship component required for this statute
The 258E statute defines harassment as someone that has committed three or more acts that were:
- willful and malicious. “Malicious” means characterized by cruelty, hostility, or revenge.
- were aimed at you,
- were intended to cause you fear, abuse, intimidation, or damage to property. “Abuse” means causing or attempting to cause physical harm, or causing fear of imminent serious physical harm.
- Or someone has caused you, at least once, to engage in sexual relations involuntarily by using force, threat, or duress;
- Or someone has committed against you, at least once, an act that violates any of the following statutes: General Laws chapter 265, 13B, 13F or 13H (indecent assault and battery), 22 or 22A (rape), 23 (statutory rape), 24 or 24B (assault with intent rape), 26C (enticing a child), 43 (criminal stalking), 43A (criminal harassment), or chapter 272, 3 (drugging for sexual intercourse).
- You have the right to file, modify, or vacate your restraining order at any time.
- You have the right to talk to the police about filing criminal charges against your abuser with or without a restraining order in place.
- You also have the right to speak to a Clerk Magistrate about filing criminal charges against your abuser if the police do not take out charges themselves.
- You have the right to call the police if the (defendant) abuser violates any of the provisions ordered on your restraining order. The police may arrest the abuser.
CONTACT AND AVAILABILITY
Our courts cover the following towns in the following districts:
- Hingham District:
- Wareham District:
- Plymouth District:
- Plymouth Probate:
- All of Plymouth County
To get in contact with a SAFEPLAN Advocate, call the clerk’s office in your local court. You can also reach our advocates by calling our 24/7 hotline number at (508) 746-2664.
Hingham District Court: (781) 749-7000
Plymouth District Court: (508) 747-8400
Plymouth Probate Court: (508) 897-5400
Wareham District Court: (508) 295-8300