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The following definitions apply to the Protection Laws and procedures described in this handbook.

Abuse: The occurrence of the following acts between family or household members, or dating partners, or by a family or household member or dating partner upon a minor child of a family or household member, or dating partner:

A. Attempting to cause, or causing, bodily injury or offensive physical contact, including sexual assaults under Title 17-A M.R.S. §§ 251-261a, except that contact as described in 17-A M.R.S. § 106(1)a] (reasonable disciplinary force by a parent, guardian, or foster parent) is excluded from this definition;

B. Attempting to place, or placing, another in fear of bodily injury through any course of conduct, including, but not limited to, threatening, harassing or tormenting behavior;

C. Compelling a person by force, threat of force or intimidation to engage in conduct from which the person has a right or privilege to abstain or to abstain from conduct in which the person has a right to engage;

D. Knowingly restricting substantially the movements of another person without that person's consent or other lawful authority by:

  1. Removing that person from that person's residence, place of business or school;
  2. Moving that person a substantial distance from the vicinity where that person was found; or
  3. Confining that person for a substantial period either in the place where the restriction commences or in a place to which that person has been moved;

E. Communicating to a person a threat to commit, or to cause to be committed, a crime of violence dangerous to human life against the person to whom the communication is made or another, and the natural and probable consequence of the threat, whether or not that consequence in fact occurs, is to place the person to whom the threat is communicated, or the person against whom the threat is made, in reasonable fear that the crime will be committed; or

F. Repeatedly and without reasonable cause:

  1. Following the plaintiff; or
  2. Being at or in the vicinity of the plaintiff's home, school, business or place of employment.

Adult: A person who is 18 years of age or older, or a younger person who has been emancipated by a court (see definition of "emancipated minor" below).

Dating Partners: People currently or formerly involved in dating each other, whether or not they are or were sexual partners.

Defendant: The defendant is the person who is accused of abusing or harassing the plaintiff.

Emancipated Minor. A minor is "emancipated" if the minor has a court order of emancipation issued by a Maine District Court.

Family or Household Members: Family or household members means spouses or domestic partners, or former spouses or former domestic partners, individuals presently or formerly living together as spouses, natural parents of the same child, adult household members related by consanguinity or affinity, or minor children of a household member when the defendant is an adult household member, and individuals presently or formerly living together and individuals who are or were sexual partners.

Harassment:

  1. Three or more acts of intimidation, confrontation, physical force or the threat of physical force directed against any person, family or business that are made with the intention of causing fear, intimidation or damage to personal property and that do in fact cause fear, intimidation or damage to personal property;
  2. A single act or course of conduct constituting a violation of:

Minor: Any individual who has not yet attained the age of 18, unless emancipated.

Parties: The plaintiff and the defendant are the parties.

Plaintiff: The plaintiff is the person who is complaining about abuse; or the person or business complaining about harassment.

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is defined, for the purposes of protection from abuse cases, in chapter 11 of Title 17-A of the Maine Revised Statues (Maine Criminal Code).

Generally speaking, sexual assault includes: the crime commonly referred to as rape (called "gross sexual assault" in Maine), statutory rape, unlawful sexual contact (touching of the genitals or anus where no permission is given or the person touched is under 14 years old or otherwise incapable of resisting), exposing one's genitals to a child, showing sexually explicit materials to a child with the intent of encouraging sexual contact, soliciting a child by computer, or unlawful sexual touching (touching the breasts, buttocks, groin or inner thigh where no permission is given or the person touched is under 14 years old or otherwise incapable of resisting). Sexual assault also includes prohibited contact with a minor by certain convicted sex offenders. For more specific details of these crimes - including the specific ages that the victims and perpetrators must be for it to qualify as a "sexual assault" - please review the Maine Criminal Code directly.

Stalking: Stalking is defined in Title 17-A, section 210-A of the Maine Revised Statutes (Maine Criminal Code).

Stalking must be based on two or more acts by a defendant involving (for example) following, monitoring, threatening, harassing, interfering with property, or communicating with or about a specific person. The defendant must want or know that these acts will cause the specific person to: (a) suffer serious inconvenience or emotional distress; (b) fear bodily injury or death to oneself or a close relation; (c) fear damage, destruction, or tampering of property; or (d) fear injury or death of an animal owned by or kept by the specific person.


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