The intersecting criminal justice, family and social service systems strive to enhance safety for domestic violence victims and promote accountability among abusers, but gaps in protection leave victims feeling unsafe or further traumatized, even when they have the courage to report abuse.
Partners is working to educate stakeholders about the need to improve the State’s system of assessing pretrial risk in domestic violence cases and to expand protections for victims through no-contact orders. This issue is critical to reducing fatalities and near-fatalities as well as new domestic violence crimes.
The most dangerous time for a domestic violence victim is when the victim decides to terminate the relationship. If criminal charges are brought against the defendant, protecting the victim from further danger during the time between arrest and disposition of charges is critical. Partners supported expanded use of criminal no-contact orders as a temporary protection for victims. We achieved the following successes:
- The New Jersey Supreme Court accepted the argument advanced by Partners that no- contact orders must be fully enforceable in order to protect domestic violence victims. The Court will allow prosecutors to charge defendants with contempt if they violate no-contact orders. See State v. Antoine McCray; State v. Sahaile Gabourel (2020).
- The judiciary implemented a new practice to link no-contact orders with the police database. Partners is supporting legislation to ensure that victims receive a copy of the no-contact order.
- The Administrative Office of the Courts convened a Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Working Group to assess the State’s risk assessment process with the expertise of New York Crime Labs.
For more information, check out the February 2019 NJ Spotlight Op-Ed, Task Force Needed on Criminal Justice Response to Domestic Violence.
Safe Firearms Forfeiture
Partners seeks to expand safe firearms forfeiture through the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act and to improve information sharing about firearms among victims, the police, and courts.
Our Policy Counsel, Trish Perlmutter, submitted written comments on the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act’s impending rules and oﬀered testimony at a hearing before the New Jersey Supreme Court on May 28, 2019. To read the comments, click here.