No one deserves to be nor must remain a victim to domestic violence. Our laws in New Jersey are strict by making it mandatory we arrest a domestic violence attacker when there is a sign of injury to a victim. When children are a witness to domestic violence they themselves may carry on the trait. It is our goal to break this chain of violence with zero tolorence and to teach children how to deter domestic violence.
If you or someone you know is a victim, there are now many services to help get a victim out of the relationship before it is too late. Here are links to useful websites: Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy and Domestic Abuse Services Inc
Time and time again we see victims obtain a TRO or Temporary Restraing Order only to dismiss it when it comes time to apply for a FRO or Final Restraining Order. The reasons for this may vary from:
The abuser is the one bringing in the money: "How will I live without an income?" "How can I raise my children without a job?" "Who will pay the mortgage?" "Where am I going to live?"
The victim rationalizes the abuse by saying it was their fault: "I brought this on by arguing with him", "I should have been a better wife, homemaker, cook (etc)". "He was mad, I should have done what he said".
The victim believes the abuser has changed: "We talked it over and he wont hit me anymore", "He told me he loves me and is sorry", "She only does this when she gets angry", "He is under alot of stress lately but now it is okay".
The victim is scared of the abuser: "If I get a FRO he will kill me", "I know him, he will make my life miserable if I go ahead with this", "He will never leave me alone" "He will kidnap my children and I will never see them again".
Every victim has a right to feel scared of their attacker. If a restraining order is not good enough then you can be placed in a domestic violence shelter. (We the police don't even know where they are!). Your children will be taken care of. You will be taken care of. You will be supported throughout the trial and process of getting your freedom back. Domestic Violence victims need to come forth and start the process because domestic violence doesn't get better it gets worse and worse.
Most people dont understand the process of domestic violence. This is what happens when we get called to a domestic violence incident:
- We determine who is the victim and who is the accused. If it is only a domestic dispute we take a report. If it domestic violence we move ahead to the next step.
- If there is a sign of injury it is mandatory we arrest the attacker. He/she will be charged by the state not the victim. If there is no sign of injury the officer or the victim may sign a complaint.
- The victim will be afforded the opportunity to apply for a TRO. How this is done is the officer talks with a judge to explain the situation then the victim talks to the judge. During business hours this will be done at Sussex County Family Court in Newton. During holidays and non business hours we call a judge. If the judge feels the victim would be in danger he/she will grant the TRO. If we call a judge during non business hours it will be a municipal court judge. The judge is going to determine if a emergent TRO should be granted. In some cases the judge will not feel a emergent order needs to be given. So the application is denied. However, this does not stop a victim from going to the Sussex County Court during business hours and getting one there through a Superior Court judge. Nor does it mean that if things change and another incident happens that a victim cannot re-apply. He or she can at any time.
- If the TRO is granted, the accused is served with the TRO and is afforded the opportunity to get his/her personal belongings for a brief time with the officers and victim present. The accused cannot have any contact with the victim in any form. If he/she does they will be arrested.
- If the victim is extremely alarmed or frightened we will make arrangements for thier protection by contacting Domestic Abuse Services Inc. To see their site go to DASI This agency also will assist victims throughout the court process.