Countless men and women within the State of New Jersey are the victims of domestic violence each year. A common problem for domestic violence victims is that they may not be aware that they are a victim of domestic violence; and even if they are aware, they may not know how to get help.
Fortunately, the State of New Jersey has taken a strong stance against domestic violence and actively seeks to help those who are victims. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to receive a restraining order in New Jersey:
1. Determine if You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence
Many people think that they can only be considered victims of domestic violence if they have been physically injured. However, this is not the case.
In the State of New Jersey, there are 19 crimes that constitute domestic violence including but not limited to acts such as burglary, harassment, cyber-harassment, and stalking. Other acts include assault, attempted homicide, and sexual assault.
If you think you may be a victim of one these acts, it is imperative that you seek relief from the courts to ensure your future safety.
2. File for the Restraining Order
The next step is filing for the restraining order. In order to file for a restraining order, a person will need to go to the local county courthouse or to a local police station to fill out an application. Usually, a victim should opt to seek relief through the courthouse. However, if it is after business hours, the victim will need to go to the local police station. If you are in immediate danger, you should call 911 or otherwise seek help from local law enforcement.
You will be required to give a statement to someone at the courthouse or at the police station. While it may seem scary to discuss your sensitive situation with a stranger, these individuals are trained to help victims of domestic violence.
You will then be required to speak with a judge about your circumstances. If a judge believes a restraining order is necessary, he or she will grant a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which will grant you temporary relief until your case can be heard before the court. The temporary relief usually includes exclusive possession of the residence (if you live with the abuser), restrictions on the abuser's ability to contact you, and physical custody of any children you may have with the abuser.
3. Attend the Final Restraining Order Hearing
In order to receive what is called a Final Restraining Order (FRO), you must attend a hearing within ten days of the issuance of the FRO. This hearing will determine whether or not a permanent restraining order is necessary to prevent further domestic violence.
At this hearing, you and the abuser will be given the chance to explain your sides of the story, and you will be allowed to ask the other party questions about the domestic violence incident. If the judge concludes that an act of domestic violence occurred and the victim needs further protection, then he or she will grant the FRO.
You Can Seek Relief from Violence
The State of New Jersey has made it a major goal to protect victims of domestic violence. For that reason, a victim of domestic violence has a broad range of relief available to them for protection.
If you believe you may be a victim of domestic violence, you should consult with an attorney to guide you through the process. There are also free resources available to victims of domestic violence that may be able to provide assistance to a victim.