Domestic Violence and Abuse can happen to anyone; this is a complex and multifaceted problem, often overlooked, denied, or excused. Domestic Violence and Abuse can take on both psychological and physical forms, and represents one of the most common calls for Police Department response in the Town of Tyngsborough. During 2009 we responded to over 90 reports of domestic incidents and charged 30 individuals with Domestic Violence, with a number of these incidents stemming from family disagreements and disputes.
Domestic Abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to physical violence and even murder. While physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. No one deserves this kind of pain and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.
In Massachusetts, Abuse Prevention is addressed in Chapter 209A (“Abuse Prevention”). A person suffering from abuse from an adult or minor, family or household member may file a complaint in the court requesting protection from such abuse, including, but not limited to ordering the defendant to refrain from abusing the victim, whether the abuser is an adult or minor, ordering the abuser to refrain from contacting the plaintiff, unless authorized by the court, whether the abuser is an adult or minor. The court may order the abuser to vacate and remain away from the household, multiple family dwelling, and workplace.
When Police Officers respond to Domestic Abuse violations, if they believe they have probable cause to believe that a person has committed a misdemeanor involving abuse (including assault and battery) in violation of the law, they can arrest without witnessing the crime. This allows the Officers to remove the abuser while protecting the victim. The officers at the scene will explain to the victim of abuse their rights under 209A.
As a Law Enforcement Officer with over 35 years of service to the public, nearly every murder I have investigated involved Domestic Violence. In many of these instances, the victims had repeatedly taken the abuser back into their lives, after dropping protective orders.
The news reports are full of stories of Domestic Violence, whether the subject is a national sports hero or the person down the street. If you are the victim of Domestic Violence or you know or suspect someone is the victim of Domestic Violence, SPEAK UP.
Remember, the abuser’s goal is to control the victim. By reporting the abuse, the victim takes control away from the abuser.
If you are the victim of abuse, you can contact your local Police Department, or the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at their victim witness division, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY), a crisis intervention and referral phone line for domestic violence.
Remember, Domestic Violence and Abuse can happen to anyone. If you recognize yourself or someone you know as victims of Domestic Violence or Abuse, do not hesitate to reach out for the help that is available.
Chief W.F. Mulligan