Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 23, 2018
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain

As you may be aware, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. While this is a subject many of you might be reluctant to discuss, it is important to do so, as 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Whether you realize it or not, you know someone whose life has been impacted by D.V. While ‘violence’ is right there in the name, D.V. encompasses much, much more than physical abuse.

The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act

New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act actually encompasses nineteen predicate acts ranging from assault to harassment, stalking, terroristic threats, and criminal mischief. The statue also extends to more than just current dating relationships, it covers individuals who previously dated, those who have a child in common and former household members, meaning any family member or friend/roommate you have resided with is included in the Act. Consequently, this precludes co-workers and family members or friends you have never lived with or dated.

Prior to joining Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC, I was a fellow at Partners for Women and Justice, a non-profit organization that represents low-income victims of domestic violence in Final Restraining Order hearings and the ancillary matters that flow from them. During my time with Partners, it always amazed me how individuals were unaware of their options when it came to procuring not only their safety but the safety of their children.

The reality is that most people are in the dark when it comes to how and when to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (T.R.O.) and therefore choose to live with the situation as opposed to extricating themselves from it. While the how can differ, the when is very straightforward – when you feel that you are no longer safe as a result of the actions of someone in your life, you should seek protection. There are two ways that someone can obtain a T.R.O., during the day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. you can go to the Superior Court in your county, the county where the incident took place, or the county where your abuser lives and fill out an application. Alternatively, should you require assistance outside of those hours you can call or go to your local police station and they will assist you with obtaining the T.R.O.

Most people are under the false belief that because their situation is non-violent that it simply does not rise to the level of domestic violence. No level of D.V., whether it be verbal, emotional, sexual or physical should be endured. Should you feel that you are being abused please do not hesitate to reach out for assistance.