If you are a victim of domestic violence, the law which protects people from domestic violence in the State of New Jersey is known as the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.” Whether or not a person is protected under the Act depends on whether he or she (1) qualifies as a “victim”, (2) has suffered at least one of fourteen acts of domestic violence, and (3) has an ongoing need for protection.
The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is very specific about who may be afforded protection. A person seeking protection from domestic violence must qualify as a victim falling into one of the following categories: spouses, former spouses, those who in dating relationships, those who are having a child or anticipate having a child, and current or former household members.
The “household member” category is not specifically defined by the Act, but New Jersey law provides that household member categories are provided to protect those who live in a family-like setting in which there is a continued contact and opportunity for ongoing abusive and controlling behavior. Many of us may automatically think of aggressors or victims involved in romantic relationships, but the category of household members is far more expansive and allows others to seek protection under the Act. For example, New Jersey law provides that household members who have suffered acts of domestic violence need not be related, in a romantic relationship, or of the opposite sex. The law has been also been invoked in certain situations to protect even neighbors and college roommates.
If you are suffering acts of domestic violence such as physical abuse, harassment, bullying, and if you feel like you are being subjected to abusive and/or controlling behavior, you may be eligible to invoke the protection of Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and put a stop to the abuse. You do not have to continue to put up with it.
An attorney who is experienced in New Jersey Family Law will be able to greatly assist you in this process and ensure that you get the protection that you deserve. On the other hand, if you feel as though you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, it is very important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible, as the hearing dates and deadlines for complying with the rules of the Court in such regard are very short.