Guide to Protection from Abuse and Harassment Actions

IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 9-1-1. The Maine Department of Health and Humans Services maintains a list of resources for victims available at this link

Published by: Administrative Office of the Courts, Portland, Maine
Sixth Edition. First Printing December 2010

The guide is also available to download. The file below require the free Adobe Reader.

Guide to Protection from Abuse and Harassment Actions (PDF)

Somali/ Soomaali

Spanish/ Español

Arabic/ العربية

Complaint for Protection from Abuse (PA-001)/ من سوء المعاملة دعوى حماية

Protection Order Service Information (PA-005)/ بيانات الإعلان بأمر الحماية

Complaint for Protection from Harassment (PA-006)/ من التحرش دعوى حماية

Defendant’s Motion (PA-010)/ طلب المدعي

Plaintiff’s Pre-Judgment Motion to Dismiss Complaint (PA-012)/ برد الدعوى الطلب السابق على الحكم من المدعي

Motion to Extend Order for Protection (PA-013)/ أمر الحماية طلب تمديد

Affidavit for Confidential Address/Telephone Number (PA-015)/ رقم تليفون سري عنوان سري/ إشهاد من أجل

French/ Français

Vietnamese/ việt


How to Use this Guide:

  • Read it all again.
  • Highlight the sections that particularly pertain to your case.


The Protection Laws enable victims of domestic or dating abuse, sexual assault, stalking or harassment to obtain both short-term emergency protection and, after hearing, long-term protection. These laws also enable persons accused of abuse, sexual assault, stalking or harassment to defend themselves, and to ask the court to modify (change) or vacate (terminate) any order against them. This booklet is designed to help people involved in protection cases understand and use the court procedures involved in issuing, modifying, and terminating orders. This booklet does not discuss how these orders are enforced by plaintiffs or by law enforcement.

There are two types of protection cases — one covers abuse, sexual assault and stalking; the other covers harassment. Protection cases based on abuse, sexual assault and stalking differ in some important respects from protection cases based on harassment, although many procedures apply to both. Both cases are court lawsuits under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 19-A, section 4001 through section 4011 (Abuse); Title 5, sections 4651 through 4660 (Harassment); and Titles 17 and 17-A (Maine Criminal Code). Thus, these procedures should be used only when court intervention is necessary to protect a person or property from real harm.

Section II of this booklet explains what is "abuse," "sexual assault" or "stalking" and what is "harassment" under these laws, and how other terms are defined. Read this section carefully to see how your situation fits these definitions. Section III is written particularly for plaintiffs (those claiming to have been abused, sexually assaulted, stalked or harassed) and Section IV is written particularly for defendants (those who are accused of committing abuse, sexual assault, stalking or harassment).

If the situation does not support bringing a protection case, a plaintiff may still ask the local police or sheriff's department to issue a warning to the defendant similar to the formerly available "peace bond," under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 17-A, section 506-A. If the plaintiff wants such a warning, the clerk's office may have the form. Otherwise, the plaintiff should contact his/her local law enforcement agency.

All parties (plaintiffs and defendants) should be aware that anyone who signs a court paper is stating that to the best of the signer's knowledge, information and belief, the allegations or statements in the pleading are true. If a party knowingly makes a false statement in a court pleading or at a court hearing, he/she may be held liable for any court expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by the other party. Moreover, it is a crime to make a false statement under oath in a court document, (see 19-A MRSA §4005(5), 17-A MRSA §452).