Every person has the right to feel safe and secure in his or her own home. If you are a victim of domestic violence, call 9-1-1. If you are able, tell the police dispatcher what has happened and be sure to indicate whether anyone is injured or armed and, if so, where the weapons are located.
Officers will respond immediately. Once they arrive, ask to talk to an officer alone so that you can speak freely about what has happened and what you would like done. If the situation demands, we can help you obtain a temporary restraining order against your attacker even in the middle of the night.
A restraining order can:
Temporarily forbid your abuser from entering your home
Temporarily forbid your abuser from having any contact with you, your relatives, or anyone else you identify
Provide for the seizure of any weapons your abuser possesses
Allow you to use the family car if it is not in your name
Temporarily forbid your abuser from bothering you at work
Require that your abuser pay temporary child support or support for you
Grant you temporary custody of your children
Require that your abuser pay you back any money you spend for medical treatment or repairs because of his/her violence
You also have the right to file a criminal complaint against your abuser in addition to obtaining a restraining order. A police officer can tell you how to file a criminal complaint.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is not limited to physical or sexual abuse. It also includes emotional abuse. The following are some examples of common forms of emotional abuse that, depending on the surrounding circumstances, may be domestic violence.
Harming a pet or threatening to harm a pet
Threatening to hurt or kill you or a member of your family
Threatening you to prevent you from leaving
Physically keeping you from leaving by doing such things as blocking a doorway, taking your car keys, or disabling your car
Forcing you to go somewhere against your will
Purposely or repeatedly following or stalking you by doing things such as staking out your home or place of employment
Coming to your home uninvited or after being told not to do so
Purposely or recklessly damaging your property or possessions by doing such things as punching holes in the walls, ripping up personal journals, tearing your clothing, or throwing things
Purposely and repeatedly annoying or alarming you by making hang-up calls, calling your home or place of employment, or deliberately preventing you from sleeping
Trying to control your daily activities, such as where you go, what you do, or who your friends are
Source: A Guide to the Legal Rights of Domestic Violence Victims in New Jersey
Trained counselors are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions and provide guidance. All calls are completely confidential.
New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline
Jersey Battered Women Service, Inc. (JBWS)
If you need the advice of a lawyer but cannot afford one, you may be eligible for free legal assistance from LSNJ.
Provides a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter for victims and their children, individual and group counseling, legal advocacy, children’s services, transitional housing, life skills education, vocational counseling, community education and professional training, teenage dating violence services, counseling for the abusers, and more.
The New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women is a nonprofit umbrella organization whose members include statewide lead agencies serving victims of domestic violence and their families.