What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is any act of physical abuse, harassment or threat of violence. The most common examples are physical contact such as pushing, hitting, or similar acts. However, acts such as restraining you from leaving or forcing sexual contact may also constitute Domestic Violence.
Must an actual act of violence occur or are verbal threats sufficient?
Under the Domestic Violence Act, threats or harassment alone may constitute Domestic Violence if you are in genuine fear that physical violence may occur.
If you are being threatened, do not think that you must wait for the actual harm to occur; consult with your attorney immediately to see if action can be taken.
It may also be Domestic Violence if your property or belongings are damaged or if your home is entered without your permission.
What can I do if Domestic Violence does occur?
You can apply for a Restraining Order any weekday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. by going to your County’s Family Part of the Superior Court and filing the Complaint forms. The Court Clerk or a Probation Officer will help you fill out the forms and will present them to a Judge. In most cases, the Order will be issued on the same day which you apply for it. If the Domestic Violence occurs on a weekend or other than between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., you should call or go to the local police station and tell them that you want to file a Domestic Violence Complaint. The law requires that a Judge be assigned and available to issue emergency Orders.
What will the Restraining Order do for me?
The Order will prevent the person who has been abusing or threatening you from having any contact with you and will enable the local police to remove or even arrest the person if there is any further contact.
In addition, the Restraining Order may:
- Give you custody of the children and prevent any contact between the abuser and the children.
- Give you possession of your home.
- Remove any guns or other dangerous weapons from the home or the abuser’s possession.
- Provide for temporary financial support.
- Require the abuser to receive temporary psychological, alcohol or substance abuse counseling.
When can I contact my attorneys or how do I receive immediate advice if Domestic Violence occurs?
If the Domestic Violence occurs during business hours, contact us immediately. If the Domestic Violence occurs during nonworking hours, you can file a complaint for a temporary restraining order at your local police station, and contact us on the first business day thereafter.
If you cannot contact us, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division on Women, maintains a statewide 24-hour, 7-day a week hotline which can be reached by dialing 1-800-572-SAFE.