Courts still hearing emergency restraining, harassment order cases

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Trial courts across Massachusetts are closed to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Lots of people are social distancing and staying home right now, and this could put extra stress on families. Some of these people who are stuck at home are victims of domestic violence, and now live with the risk of abuse on a daily basis.

But, trial courts across the state want people to know that they are still hearing emergency restraining and harassment order cases to get victims the help they need.

A judge has issued an order to hear these types of cases via telephone or video conferencing until at least April 6.

“Going to the courthouse can often be dangerous for victims even without these circumstances,” said Mary Kociela, director of Domestic and Sexual Violence Programs for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office. “The court order allowing restraining orders by phone is a great way to help protect victims.​”

People who feel they are in danger can call their local police department or a hotline, to file for a restraining order, and schedule a phone call or video conference.

Here are local domestic violence hotlines:

Safe Passage – Northampton
(413) 586-5066 or (888) 345-5282 (toll free)

NELCWIT – Franklin County
Greenfield  (413) 772-0806; Orange/Athol (978) 544-9857; Toll Free (888) 249-0806

YWCA ARCH – Springfield
(413) 733 – 7100 or (800) 796 – 8711

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