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The rights of abuse victims in Massachusetts

When someone suffers sexual abuse, the destructive effects both physically and emotionally can last a long time. While a great deal of emphasis has been placed upon the rights of the accused over the past few decades, less consideration has been given to victims’ rights. Legislators in the Commonwealth created an Abused Person’s Notice of Rights to address this disparity. The Notice of Rights is detailed in the General Laws, Chapter 209A. In essence, victim of a sexual crime is recognized to have certain rights. The victim may file a complaint in the Superior Court, Probate Court, Family District Court or Municipal Court in their jurisdiction. By so appearing, the victim is enabled to request an order for any of the following that is relevant to the case at hand. A judge could grant someone several legal orders to help their situation orders. For example, a quit order would direct an accused abuser or attacker to leave the victim’s home, place of work or apartment building. A restraining order against the attacker would legally forbid him from coming closer than a designated distance to the victim. A family judge could also give an order awarding custody of any minor children to the victim to keep them from staying in with an abusive person, and the victim can also demand a child support order in some circumstances. The victim can also request a court order for the abuser to pay the victim for the financial losses the victim suffered because his actions. These may include, among other things, cost of an attorney, lost wages, cost of medical treatment or moving expenses. It is very important for anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse to know that he or she has support upon which he or she can depend. While police are required to remain with a victim who fears for her safety if requested, it may also be helpful for a victim to hire an attorney to ensure the rights of the victim. An attorney will make sure that the victim understands their rights and that they seek the proper legal remedies.

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