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Domestic Violence in New Jersey:  What to do as a victim

Since the passage of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, New Jersey has dedicated resources to victims of abuse and expanded the protections afforded for victims.  Victims of domestic abuse should avail themselves of police and court protection.  If you are a victim, then you should read the following article.

Sometimes a marriage or a family relationship or a love relationship deteriorates to the point where there is abuse or violence.  There are many reasons why this happens.  Drug and alcohol abuse seem to the most prevalent reasons for domestic abuse and violence.  The reasons for the abuse are not legal excuses because New Jersey law has a zero tolerance policy for domestic abuse.

If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, then you should consider obtaining a restraining order.  A restraining order is a legal document that prevents an abuser from returning to the home and from contacting the victim.  Violation of a restraining order is a crime, and there will be an immediate arrest for a violation.

There are two ways to obtain a restraining order.  One is through your local police department.  The other is through the Family Court.

In the most serious instances the police are called to the scene of the violence or abuse.  The police will provide immediate assistance and protection to the victim.  From a legal point of view, the police will advise a victim of his or her rights, and ask whether the victim wishes to obtain a restraining order.  If the victim wants a restraining order, then the police officer will take a report from the victim and contact the municipal court judge who has the authority to approve the restraining order.

A victim may also request a restraining order by walking in to the Family Court office at the Superior Court in his or her county of residence.  Family Court personnel will take the information from the victim, and then take the matter before a Superior Court Judge, who will decide whether or not the restraining order will be issued.

A restraining order is the first step in protecting yourself and your family.  You have the right to contact an attorney.  Howes & Howes are experienced domestic violence attorneys.  Kathy Howes has fourteen years in private practice and two terms as a municipal court judge.  Tim Howes has experience both as a municipal prosecutor and assistant county prosecutor in addition to his thirteen years in private practice.

There are many more resources for victims of domestic violence.  To find out more, click on the following links:

New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women

New Jersey Domestic Violence Advocates and Resources


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