A mountain lion has been sighted in Winchester. A resident reported seeing a mountain lion in the Dunster Lane, Pepper Hill Drive neighborhood off of Ridge Street. Massachusetts Environmental Police responded and viewed the animal’s paw print and stated the tracks strongly resembled that of a mountain lion. Photos of the tracks were sent to Mass […]
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, contact Winchester Police.
In Massachusetts, domestic abuse is defined as follows:
“Abuse”, the occurrence of one or more of the following acts 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.
“Family or household members”, persons who:
- are or were married to one another;
- are or were residing together in the same household;
- are or were related by blood or marriage;
- having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; or
- are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship, which shall be adjudged by district, probate or Boston municipal courts consideration of the following factors:
(1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship.
In domestic abuse situations, the Winchester Police Department will:
- Use all reasonable means to prevent further harm.
- Remain on scene as long as you are in physical danger and/or arrange to take you to a place you feel safe.
- Assist you in obtaining medical treatment.
- Give you a copy of the 209A Law explaining your rights.
209A Abuse Prevention Orders:
The Winchester Police Department will guide you in the process of obtaining an abuse prevention order.
What an order can cover:
- A Restraining Order: an order from the Court that orders the abuser not to hurt you, not attempt to hurt you nor threaten you.
- Vacate Order: if you and the abuser share the same residence, the abuser is ordered to leave the residence. This may be ordered regardless of who owns or pays rent of the residence.
- A Temporary Custody Order: if you are a parent, the Court may order that you have temporary custody of any minor children and prohibits the abuser from taking custody. Visitation rights can only be order by the Probate Court.
- A Temporary Support Order: if the abuser is a parent, the Court may order child support payments be made for the child or children remaining in your care. If you are married, the Court may order the abusing spouse to pay living expenses.
- A Money Compensation Order: This may be ordered to repay you for expenses incurred as a result of the abuse, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
- Additional Orders: if you need any other specific orders, (for example, for the abuser to stay away from work, have no contact with you, return house keys, return property, etc.) you may request that the Court include them in your order.
There is NO COST to obtain an Abuse Prevention Order.
How to request an abuse prevention order:
You must go to the Clerk’s Office at the District Court, Superior Court or Probate Court having jurisdiction over where you live or where the abuse occurred. You should tell the clerk that you wish to file a petition for an Abuse Prevention Order or 209A Petition. You may be asked to complete a form or to write a statement describing why you are requesting an Abuse Prevention Order.
In case of an emergency, when the courts are closed or you are unable to get there, contact the Winchester Police Department at 729-1212 for Emergencies or 729-1214 for non-emergency calls.
Obtaining the order::
The Temporary Order: After you have completed the application forms, you will go before a judge and explain why you need the order. At this time the judge can only issue a Temporary Order valid for up to 10 days. A court date will be set within 10 days, and the judge will decide whether or not to extend the order. Both parties have a right to be at this hearing. Make sure you obtain and keep a copy of the order. (If the order is obtained at the police station, this process may vary.)
Serving the Order: The police are responsible for serving the abuser with the order. Any information that you can provide relative to the location of the abuser is of great help.
Warning signs of an abusive relationship:
- Does he/she insist on having control over your life, thoughts and behavior?
- Does he/she intimidate you by yelling or by threatening to withdraw his/her love or to leave you if you do not do as he/she wishes?
- Does he/she switch from charm to anger without warning?
- Does he/she project the blame for all his/her failures and shortcomings onto you?
- Is he/she extremely jealous and possessive?
- Does he/she humiliate you in front of others?
- Is he/she in competition with important people in your life for your attention?
- Does he/she frighten you into submission by threats of physical violence?
- Does he/she isolate you from your family and friends?
- Does he/she break your possessions, throw objects, or hit objects?
- Is he/she hypersensitive and easily upset by annoyances that are part of daily life?
- Does he/she have a past history of abuse?
Resources for victims of domestic abuse:
WINCHESTER POLICE DEPARTMENT:
- For Emergencies dial: 911
- General Information: 729-1214 or 729-2259
HOT LINES, Open 24 Hours – Information on a confidential basis.
Support Committee for Battered Women:
Rape Crisis Service
VICTIM WITNESS PROGRAM
Woburn District Court; District Attorney’s Victim/Witness Advocate
781-494-4232 (Spanish Speaking)
4th District Court of Eastern Middlesex
Pleasant Street, Woburn
Middlesex Probate Court
BATTERED WOMEN’S SHELTERS:
Casa Myrna Vasquez (24 hour) 800-992-2600
Transition House (617) 868-1650
Elizabeth Stone House (617) 522-3417
Respond (617) 623-5900
Personal Safety Plan
I. SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to say away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or anywhere else where weapons might be available.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, window, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative’s or friend’s home in order to leave quickly.
- Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to).
- Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him/her down. You have a right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
- Always remember – YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!
II. SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
- Open a savings account and/or credit card in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Keep the shelter or hotline number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer. REMEMBER – LEAVING YOUR BATTERED IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.
III. SAFETY IN YOUR HOME
- Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
- Discuss a safety plane with your children for when you are not with them.
- Inform your children’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children.
- Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him/her near your home.
IV. SAFETY WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER
- Keep your protective order on you at all times. (When you change your purse, that should be the first thing that goes in it.) Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
- Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
- Inform family, friends, neighbors and your physician or health care provider that you have a protective order in effect.
V. SAFE ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC
- Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security. Provide a picture of your batterer if possible.
- Arrange to have an answering machine, caller ID, or a trusted friend or relative screen your telephone calls if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train and wait with you until you are safely en route. Use a variety of routes to go home if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home (i.e., in your car, on the bus, etc.).
VI. YOUR SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
- If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
- If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
- Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs. Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger.
- Decide who you can call to talk freely and openly to give you the support you need.
- Plan to attend a women’s or victim’s support group for at least 2 weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and relationship.
VII. FOR TEENS IN A VIOLENT DATING RELATIONSHIP
- Decide which friend, teacher, relative or police officer you can tell.
- Contact an advocate at the court to decide how to obtain a restraining order and make a safety plan.
CHECKLIST – WHAT YOU NEED TO TAKE WITH YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE:
Driver’s license Money and/or Credit Cards
Children’s birth certificates/Bank books
Your birth certificate/Checkbooks
Social Security card
YOUR RESTRAINING ORDER Divorce papers
Lease, rental agreement, house deed/Custody papers
Car registration and insurance papers
Health and Life Insurance papers
Medical records for you and your children
Work permits / Green card / VISA
House and car keys/ Pictures of you, children and your abuser
Medications Children’s small toys
Small saleable objects/ Toiletries/diapers
Jewelry/ Change of clothes for you and your children