Governor Deval Patrick today signed legislation designed to provide greater protection for people against stalkers and sexual harassers.
Under previous law, victims were allowed to get restraining orders only if their harasser was in their family or in a substantial dating relationship with them. Under the new law, victims will be able to get restraining orders even if their harassers were strangers to them, state officials said.
"We know that restraining orders save lives. This law will ensure that victims of stalking, sexual assault and harassment by strangers have an accessible, affordable option for protection," Public Safety and Security Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan said in a statement.
"Massachusetts has always been a leader in the fight against domestic violence, and today we continue to lead the way in protecting victims of harassment, stalking, and violence," said Senator Harriette Chandler, lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. "This act finally closes a loophole that left too many victims of harassment vulnerable to their assailants and open to further abuse."
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