New Jersey Domestic Abuse Laws and How to Get Help for Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence or abuse in New Jersey is the actual emotional, physical, sexual or economic abuse of a person by an individual with whom he/she shares a domestic relationship. The person may be a spouse, an ex-spouse, a former/present household member or a dating partner.
While women are most often the victims, there are several domestic abuse cases where men are the victims too.
Under the PDVA (Prevention of Domestic Violence) Act passed in the year 1991 by the New Jersey state, 14 offenses are prohibited upon any individual:
- Terrorist threats
- False imprisonment
- Criminal restraint
- Sexual assault
- Criminal sexual contact
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal trespass
New Jersey deals sternly with violators of domestic laws. In fact, the State’s courts and law enforcement agencies have a central registry to maintain complete information on the restraining orders issued across New Jersey.
Protection available for victims of domestic abuse/violence
When a domestic abuse victim files a complaint and seeks protection from the domestic abuser, the court grants a restraining order to protect the victim’s life which includes:
- Prohibit the abuser from returning to the abuse/violence scene
- Search for as well as the seizure of weapons, if any
- Prohibit the domestic abuser from possessing any weapon stated under the law
Possible charges if the allegations are proved:
- The abuser will be prohibited from entering the victim’s workplace or residence
- The abuser will be required to compensate for the losses
- A prohibition from having a firearm
- The abuser will be required to receive a counseling session/psychiatric evaluation
- Pay a penalty that might range between $50- $500.
- Inclusion on the registry for domestic violence
Domestic abuse law New Jersey: sentencing consequences
- Temporary or Permanent restraining order
- Inclusion on the central domestic violence registry
A domestic abuse complaint can be filed in any family court. Once the charges are filed, a probation officer interviews the victim and explains the court process involved along with providing the information on the services available. The complaint will be quickly processed and if the judge feels that the charges fall under the domestic violence/abuse guidelines, a restraining order will be issued in the interest of the victim.
Another point to be noted here is, New Jersey allows its Police to make arrests even if there is no physical evidence relating to domestic abuse. If the Police believe that abuse or violence has taken place, they can proceed to arrest the domestic abuser.
Help for domestic abuse in New Jersey
There are a number of organizations and help shelters in New Jersey that are working full time to help the victims of domestic abuse.
JDAS- Jersey Domestic Abuse Support is a service developed to support domestic and sexual abuse victims. Their services include Risk assessment, Crisis Intervention, Safety Planning, Security measures, guidance in civil/criminal court proceedings apart from providing emotional support.
WomenRising Inc is an emergency shelter in Jersey City that offers financial and legal assistance, counseling services, emergency services, children’s services, and support services.
Hotline: 201-333- 5700
New Jersey Domestic Abuse Statistics
- In 2011, there were 70,311 domestic violence cases reported; the number reduced to 65,060 in 2012.
- Children were present or involved during 29% of all domestic abuse offenses committed in 2012.
- In 2012, 16 percent of the domestic abuse victims were wives and 3 percent were ex-wives. On the whole, females constituted 75% of all domestic abuse crimes.
- Domestic violence cases relating to dating relationships account for nearly 14 percent of New Jersey’s total.