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What Protections Can Victims Of Domestic Violence Obtain

The problem of domestic violence is far too prevalent in New Jersey and around the country. In 1991, the New Jersey legislature enacted the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act after studies showed that thousands of residents of the state were being subjected to physical abuse at the hands of their spouses or those with whom they were in a relationship. In many cases, those being assaulted were pregnant women, and several instances of domestic violence resulted in the death of the victim.

The legislature also found that there were no age barriers to this issue, with even elderly people suffering from numerous forms of domestic violence listed as criminal offenses in the act. Although some of these acts were covered by other existing criminal statutes, the legislature felt that it was important to afford special and distinct forms of protection to the victims, including the possibility of obtaining a restraining order.

In response to the legislation, the Supreme Court of New Jersey and the state attorney general developed the Domestic Violence Procedures Manual which was first issued in 1991 and has since been revised several times. It sets forth the basis of a restraining order as well as the procedure involved in obtaining one. If one is granted, the defendant may be barred from the victim’s residence and workplace, prohibited from having any communication of any nature with the victim and, if applicable, required to forfeit any firearms and prohibited from obtaining them in the future.

In addition to the protections available by statute and through the court system, many counties have established agencies to provide counseling to victims of domestic violence and their loved ones. A family law attorney can described these and other available remedies to a client who has gone through such an experience.

Source: New Jersey Courts, “New Jersey Judiciary Domestic Violence”, October 02, 2014