Stalking and Harassment Resources

If you feel as though you have received unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual or group to another person, see the below for more detailed information on how you can respond.  Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person and/or monitoring them via the internet.

What does the law say about stalking?

M.G.L. Chapter 265 section 43 defines stalking as:

(a) Whoever (1) willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and (2) makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury, shall be guilty of the crime of stalking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by both such fine and imprisonment. The conduct, acts or threats described in this subsection shall include, but not be limited to, conduct, acts or threats conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device or electronic communication device including, but not limited to, any device that transfers signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.

 

What is stalking?

While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Imagine that you don’t feel safe. Someone is following you, texting and e-mailing you, and you are afraid. More than 3.4 million Americans a year are victims of stalking—a dangerous crime that can happen to anyone. If you or anyone you know is being stalked, or to find out more about stalking, contact Cambridge Police at 617-349-3300.

 

What is harassment?

Harassment is a crime. If you or anyone you know is being harassed, or to find out more about harassment, contact Cambridge Polioce at 617-349-3300.

 

What does the law say about harassment?

M.G.L. Chapter 265 section 43A defines harassment as:

(a) Whoever willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person, which seriously alarms that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, shall be guilty of the crime of criminal harassment and shall be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The conduct or acts described in this paragraph shall include, but not be limited to, conduct or acts conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device or electronic communication device including, but not limited to, any device that transfers signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.

 

How do I obtain a harassment prevention order?

  • First, you must go to the District Court or Probate Court in the jurisdiction or county in which you live or have fled to escape harassment. You should tell the clerk that you want to file a petition for an Harassment Prevention Order or a 258E Petition. You may be asked to complete a form or to write a statement describing why you are requesting an Harassment Prevention Order.
  • In an emergency, when the courts are closed or you are unable to get to a court, contact the Cambridge Police Department at 9-1-1 (emergencies) or 617-349-3300 (non-emergency).
  • After you have completed the application forms, the Victim Witness Advocate will accompany you before a judge and you will explain why you need the order. At this time, the judge can only issue a Temporary Restraining Order, valid for up to 10 days. On the tenth day, at a scheduled hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to extend the order. Both you and the defendant have the right to be at this hearing.
  • Once you receive a restraining order, make sure you keep a copy with you at all times.
  • The police are responsible for serving the defendant with the order. Any information that you can provide as to the location of the defendant is of great help.

There is no cost to obtain a harassment order.

 

What resources are available for victims of stalking and/or harassment?

Contact the National Center for Victims of Crime where they can help you make a safety plan, learn more about your legal rights, and find help in your area:

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

Click here for an informational packet about stalking in English.  Click here for Spanish.

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Cambridge Police Department

Robert C. Haas
Commissioner

Email Us with general inquiries about the department or questions about resources/programs offered by the police. DO NOT use this form to submit tips or report crimes in progress.

125 Sixth Street
Cambridge MA 02142

Phone:617.349.3300