Legislators in New Jersey are praising the state’s decision to expand its domestic violence services in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. One of the states that was hardest hit by the storm, New Jersey was given nearly $4 million in funds by a federal Social Service Block Grant and then almost another $1 million from a grant made under the Family Violence Prevention Service Act. The legislators expressed their pleasure with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to use the funds on the state’s domestic violence prevention and treatment programs.
Some domestic violence victims may have been made more vulnerable to abuse following the storm, with some losing their homes and resorting to previous living arrangements that constituted abusive situations. Some of the funds will be accordingly be used to provide domestic violence victims with alternative housing assistance.
Legislators say that studies have shown that the stress that follows catastrophic events like Sandy can cause domestic problems to increase. In addition to offering alternative housing arrangements, the funds will also be used to offer counseling and support services to victims including referrals, financial education, transportation and child care. Additionally, there is pending legislation in the state that would make it mandatory for courts to consider the results of domestic violence assessments before it decides to dissolve final restraining orders when the alleged abuser has had two or more restraining orders issued against him or her.
Family law attorneys might be able to assist people who are the victims of domestic violence in obtaining restraining or other protective orders against their abusers. This may include helping a woman file for a divorce if her spouse has been abusive.
Source: The SandPaper, “Legislators Hail State’s Post-Sandy Expansion of Domestic Violence Services“, October 24, 2013