New Domestic Violence Legislation (Signed August 8, 2014 by Deval Patrick)
The new domestic violence statute has made monumental changes in response to the Jared Remy case (Remy Details), which was a tragic occurrence for all in Boston. Largely in response to the issue of marriage or a substantial dating relationship being the only conditions that fell within M.G.L. Ch. 209A; the new statute allows for protection in all domains, even if the parties are not involved in a substantial dating relationship. The span of this new law does not only cover relationships, but it also reaches out to roommates. In conjunction with the changes of who is protected under the new legislation, changes have also been made in the responsibly of employers and law enforcement.
In accordance with the new changes in domestic violence legislation, employers with a staff of fifty or more must notify their employees of their rights granted under the new provisions. Employers are to notify their employees of their new rights under the law and are to uphold the law under the supervision of the Attorney General. Employees who are victims in a domestic dispute are granted fifteen days of leave in a calendar year, which may be paid or unpaid and left to the discretion of the employer. The leave may only be used in response to the domestic dispute and the employee will be subject to present proper documentation of the incident to their employer and a notice of time prior to the date. All documentation and information between the employee and employer must be kept confidential. The documentation can include any court paperwork or copy of a police report. The fifteen days of leave may be used for medical attention, court dates, seeking counsel, therapy, or victim services. Under this new rule perpetrators are not covered or able to take advantage of the benefits offered.
Under the new domestic violence law an arrest must be made and now the perpetrator must be held for a minimum of six hours, unless a court deems earlier bail necessary. All police reports are to be held confidential. Police will now be required to partake in domestic violence training, which was a serious issue in the past. Added training and funding will now allow all responders to be properly trained in assessing Domestic Abuse. Police will now be able to participate in a state wide and local domestic violence team that will specialize in assessing, preventing, and keeping statistical data on domestic abuse. In response to these changes, the police will be held accountable by means of tracking statistical data. These changes will ensure safety and be used as building blocks going forward.
Steps of 209A
- Event of domestic abuse.
- File at Police Station or Court for Emergency 209A order.
- Next business day appear in court for ex parte- One-sided restraining order.
- 10-Day Court Hearing- Both parties able to attend. Reasonable apprehension of imminent physical harm. The perpetrator is able to dispute the terms and get the restraining order waived if the court deems it necessary.
- Must renew restraining order yearly. But in specific circumstances the Restraining Order can be extended permanently.
Written by: Patrick Gilbride