Group of students walking around college campus

Restraining order law doesn’t adequately protect roommates (Boston Globe)

Below is an excerpt from an editorial published on September 11 by the Boston Globe calling for clarity and legal protection for college students experiencing abuse or assault by their roommate. Massachusetts Law Reform Institute’s (MLRI) Deputy Director Jamie Sabino is quoted.

As college students start classes this fall, it’s the worst of the worst-case scenarios: What if that new roommate turns out to be not just a bad fit but outright violent?

Such cases are, no doubt, rare — and colleges should be able to sort out most of them. But if a victim needs to go to law enforcement, it turns out there’s a loophole in state law that leaves college students and other people living in nontraditional joint living arrangements with insufficient recourse.

If a family member is abusive, the victim can get a restraining order. But the restraining order law, it seems, wasn’t crafted with all modern living situations in mind, leaving gaps in who can be legally protected from violent living situations. If the court does not clarify the law, the Legislature should, while ensuring that the rights of the alleged victim and the accused are protected.

Read more at the Boston Globe.