Domestic violence is a serious criminal offense and does not just include physical abuse. Domestic violence and abuse also pertains to emotional and financial abuse. It can refer to a cycle or pattern of violence or misconduct, such as constant belittling or preventing one from working. Domestic abuse normally derives from a struggle for power over another. The term also applies to family members, former girlfriends or boyfriends, or other people you live with.
Leaving or divorcing an abusive partner can be difficult for the person who has been abused; they understandably feel that such an act would only escalate the situation further, fearing for their safety, the safety of their children, or other loved ones. Luckily, New Jersey has specific laws to help protect the victims of domestic abuse. These laws are designed to make it easier for an abused person to leave their situation and to protect themselves and their children. In New Jersey, one could divorce another on the grounds of domestic violence, and can file a temporary restraining order quickly, which would then lead to an eventual permanent restraining order.
What is Considered Domestic Violence?
According to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1990, New Jersey courts have outlawed domestic violence, and consider several different acts as forms of domestic violence, which include:
- Homicide, assault, sexual assault, harassment, or criminal sexual conduct
- Terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, or false imprisonment
- Criminal mischief, trespassing, burglary, lewdness, or stalking
Domestic violence, or any one of the acts listed above, are considered serious offenses. New Jersey courtrooms hope to protect victims of domestic violence and to severely punish those who commit it. If you believe you are a victim of domestic abuse, it is highly recommended to enact a safety plan for you and your loved ones, and to contact a domestic violence lawyer right away.
Make a Safety Plan
After you decide to leave an abusive relationship, you should enact a safety plan for you and your loved ones to ensure the safety of you and your children. The obvious key is to make the decision to leave and end the abusive relationship, which is the hardest decision to make. The following are a few recommendations to follow:
- Have a bag of clothing and necessities at a trusted person’s place in case you must leave your house or work abruptly. Practice leaving your house safely, and have a code word that only you, your children, or any loved ones know.
- Make a safety packing list that includes copies of important documents, such as passport and birth certificates.
- Memorize the phone numbers of the people you trust in case you do not have a cellphone with you. Conceal your address from public view and have neighbors or coworkers know your situation so they can notify the police, if necessary.
- Make copies of medical records, police reports, or anything else that can show the history of abuse.
Contact our New Jersey attorneys at 856-751-5505 for your free consultation.