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:

  • Attempting to cause or causing physical harm
  • Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm
  • Causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress

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1. What is the legal definition of abuse?
2. What is an abuse prevention order?
3. Who is a family or household member?
4. Where can I get a 209A Order?
5. I live in Watertown, which court can I go to?
6. The court is closed, how do I get a 209A Order?
7. Will a restraining order send my abuser to jail?
8. What happens if my abuser violates the 209A Order?
9. How will my abuser find out about the restraining order?
10. How much does a restraining order cost?
11. Do I need a lawyer?
12. How can I protect myself?