Domestic Violence

Watertown Police Department Contact Number

911 - Emergency

617-972-6500 – Non-Emergency

Domestic Violence Officer

Detective Kathleen Donohue



Abused Person’s Notice of Rights

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 directing your attacker not to contact you or a child in your custody;

d) an order awarding you custody of a minor child;

e) 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

f) 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, cost for restoring utilities and replacing locks, reasonable attorney fees and other out-of-pocket losses for injuries and property damage sustained;

g) that your current or new address be kept confidential from the abuser for your safety.

For an emergency on weekends, holidays, or week nights 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 or your children can leave of until you 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.

Frequently asked questions about Domestic Violence

[toggle title=”What is the legal definition of abuse?”]
Chapter 209A, the Massachusetts Abuse prevention Act, defines abuse as the occurrence of one or more of the following 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.


What is an Abuse Prevention Order?
An Abuse Prevention Order, called a “209A Order,” or a “protective order,” or a “restraining order,” is a civil court order intended to provide protection from physical or sexual harm caused by force or threat of harm from a family or household member.

Who is a family or household member?”
Chapter 209A, the Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Act, defines family or household members as 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 of 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, by considering the following factors:

the length of time of the relationship;

the type of relationship;

the frequency of interaction between the parties; and

if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the the termination of the relationship.


Where can I get a 209A Order?
A 209A Order can be obtained in any District Court, Superior Court, or Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts. Should you decide to go to the District or Superior Court to obtain a 209A Order you may go the respective court in the area where you live or, if you have fled to another area to avoid abuse, you may go to the respective court in the area you have now taken up residence.

Go to the Clerk’s Office in the court and ask for a “protective order,” or a “209A Order,” or “restraining order.” You will receive a packet of forms to complete, which is your application for a protective order.

I live in Watertown, which court can I go to?
Waltham District Court 38 Linden Street, Waltham, MA. Tel. 781-894-4500

Cambridge Superior Court (3rd District) 40 Thorndike Street, Cambridge, MA. Tel. 617-494-4000

The court is closed, how do I get a 209A Order?
An emergency 209A Order can be obtained through any police department after court hours, on weekends and holidays. You do not need a lawyer to make application for a 209A Order and there is no charge for filing. Be sure to call the police department which has jurisdiction over the area you reside in.

Will a restaining order send my abuser to jail?
When the court issues a 209A restraining order it is a civil action. It is intended to protect you from future abuse. It is not a criminal action and will not punish someone for what they may have already done to you. By itself, a 209A order will not cause anyone to go to jail.

What happens if my abuser violates the 209A Order?

Once a 209A Order is issued, violation of any terms of the order is a criminal offense. The police must arrest the abuser if they believe or can see that the terms of the Order were violated. If you do not call the police, you may be able to file an application for criminal complaint on your own at the Clerk’s Office in the District Court. A Victim/Witness Advocate can assist you with that process.

It is recommended that if your abuser violates the Order, call the police immediately.

How will my abuser find out about the restraining order?

The police department will be given a copy of the restraining order which they will give to your abuser. This is called “service.”

How much does a restraining order cost?
There is no cost to obtain a restraining order.

Do I need a lawyer?
No. You do not need a lawyer to file for a 209A restraining order, but an attorney may represent you if you choose.

How can I protect myself?
Develop a safety plan that includes an escape plan for you and your children should a violent incident occur. During an incident, try to move away from an area or room where access to weapons might increase your risk, such as the kitchen, or where you can be trapped or easily injured.

Call the police or leave the house as soon as possible after an abusive incident. The police will respond and stay with you until you are safe or in a safe place. The police will also help you seek medical treatment, if needed. Dial “9-1-1” when there is an emergency, Watertown has Enhanced 911 and your address will automatically appear on the police dispatch screen

Be alert when leaving the courthouse. If you have any reason to believe your abuser may be waiting for you, please ask someone in the District Attorney’s Office or Court Advocate to help. A police officer may be able to escort you to your car.

Inform the police of any guns or other weapons the abuser may keep in the house. Guns or weapons will be ordered turned over to the police by the judge, along with any License to Carry Firearms or Firearms Identification Card.

Consider changing the locks on your home. The judge can order the abuser to turn over any and all keys to your home and/or car. Keep an extra set of keys in a safe place.

Inform your neighbors if a 209A Order is in place. Encourage them to call the police if they see or suspect that something is wrong.

Make copies of important papers and keep them in a safe place. Make a list of the things you need to take with you. i.e., birth/medical records, marriage license, check/bank books, credit cards, medications.

Keep emergency money and extra clothing for yourself and your children in a safe place or with someone you trust. Include a few toys and favorite things for the children.

Keep the victim’s service agency number handy for emergency shelter and for support groups. You do not have to leave an abuser or have a 209A Order to attend the support groups. Information and support in making decisions are important.

Get medical attention as you may be injured more seriously than you realize. Go to a hospital emergency room or your private doctor as soon as possible for treatment. Ask for a copy of the treatment record.

Have pictures taken of your injuries and bruises at the hospital, police department, shelter or District Attorney’s Office.

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence

Battered Women’s Hotlines & Emergency Services
Asian Shelter & Advocacy Project 617-338-2355
Battered Women’s Hotline 617- 661-7203
Battered Women’s Support Committee 1-800-899-4000
Boston Area 24hr Rape Hotline 617-492-RAPE (7273)
Casa Myrna 1-800-992-2600 24 Hour 262-9581
Elizabeth Stone House 617-522-3417
Finex House 617-288-1054
National Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 TTY
REACH Program 24hr Hotline 800-899-400,
Local number: 781-891-0724
Samaritans 617-247-0220
Batterers’ Intervention
Common Purpose 617- 739-3831
Spanish line 617- 739-3843
Emerge 617-422-1550
Victim Assistance
Dept. Social Service Shelter Resource Unit 617-348-5330
District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Advocate at Waltham District Court 781-893-7140
Domestic Violence Unit (Middlesex County) 617-629-0222
MA. Coalition of Battered Women 617- 248-0922
MA. Office for Victim Assistance 617-727-5200
Victim Compensation & Assistance Division 617-727-2200 {727-4765 TTY}
Victim Witness Service Bureau (Middlesex County) 617-494-4604
Other Victim Assistance
Corrections Dept. 617-727-3300
Criminal History Systems Board 617-660-4690
Office of the Attorney General 617-727-2200
Parole Board 617-727-3271
Child Services
Child At Risk Hotline (under 18 years of age) 1-800-792-5200
Child Witness to Violence Project-Boston Medical Cen. 617-534-5000
Children’s Charter 781-894-4307
Child Abuse & Neglect 727-6080 TTY
Department of Social Services 1-800-769-4615
DSS Domestic Violence Unit 727-3171 x551
Parental Stress Hotline 1-800-632-8188
Disabled Services
Disabled Persons Protection Committee: between ages 18 – 59 years of age 1-800- 617-426-9009 24 Hour
Vision Foundation 617- 926-4232
Elder Services
Elder Abuse Hotline: person 60 years or older 1-800-922-2275
Resident Nursing home/Long term care Facility 1-800-462-5540
Elder Affairs 1-800-882-2003
Elder Services 617- 825-9891 TTY
West Suburban Elder Services 617-926-4100
Counseling and Family Intervention Services
Beaverbrook Guidance Center 781-891-0555
Center for Mental Health Waltham 781-894-8440
Watertown 1-800-540-5806
Edinburg Center 1-800-540-5806 24hr assistance with psychiatric crisis support
Waltham Weston Hospital Health Service 781-647-6486
New Life Clinic 1-800-NEW-LIFE
Substance Abuse
Alanon & Alenteen 781-843-5300
Alcoholics Anonymous 617-426-9444
Casper Services for: Adolescents 617-623-2080
Adult Detox 617-628-6300
Women’s Alcoholism Program 617-661-1316
Cocaine Hotline 1-800-COCAINE
Drug/Alcohol Information & Referral Hotline 1-800-327-5050 ( 617-455-1500)
Mt. Hospital Prevention & Recovery Program 617-499-5051
Middlesex Regional Alcoholism Treatment Center 781-894-0004
Mother Against Drunk Driving 1-800-633-6233
Narcotics Anonymous 617-884-7709
Waltham Weston Hospital Addiction Treatment Center 617-647-6287
Substance Abuse Hotline 617- 624-5186 TTY
Public Assistance
Department of Public Welfare 781-893-0146
Food Source Hotline 1-800-645-8333
Salvation Army 617-547-3400
Social Security 1-800-772-1213
WIC 617-498-1091
Legal Services
Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau 617-893-4793
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau 617-495-4408
Massachusetts Bar Association Referral Service 1-800-392-6164
Northeastern Law Clinic 617-373-4000
Greater Boston Legal Services 617-371-1234