Possible Electric Monitoring for New Jersey Domestic Abuse Offenders
A bill is making its way through the New Jersey Legislature that would allow judges to issue electronic monitoring devices for people who have been convicted of domestic abuse. The device would give victims notice if their abuser was approaching their residence or otherwise violating a restraining order.
The notice to victims would “give them, if nothing else, a head start if the situation turns deadly” Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, the co-sponsor of the bill, told NewsWorks. The bill is named “Lisa’s Law,” after a mother from Tom’s River New Jersey whose husband murdered her the day after he was released from prison for violating a restraining order.
The GPS monitoring device would also alert law enforcement officers if the offender violated his or her restraining order. The bill is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Other states have enacted similar measures that Singleton believes have helped to prevent domestic violence attacks.
Protecting Victims of Domestic Abuse
New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act protects victims from 14 criminal offenses that it classifies as domestic abuse. Anyone who is the victim of abuse under the PDVA can obtain a restraining order against his or her abuser. The restraining order varies according to the unique circumstances of each case. However, most restraining orders will prevent the abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim, the victim’s home and his or her workplace, and may prevent the abuser from contacting the victim.
The initial restraining order is temporary, and the person who it is issued against does not need to be at the courthouse when it is first issued. Rather, a staff member interviews the victim and questions him or her about what happened and past domestic abuse. In order for the restraining order to become permanent, there must first be a Final Restraining Order Hearing. At the hearing, both sides have the chance to present arguments to the court. If the victim is successful in convincing the judge he or she needs a restraining order issued against the defendant, a judge may award
· Exclusive possession of the home
· Temporary custody of children,
· Financial support, medical coverage
Victims of abuse do not have to live in fear. A restraining order can protect victims and their families. If you think you are in danger, contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the process of obtaining a restraining order.