New legislation may help domestic violence victims in New Jersey | Lane & Lane, LLC
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New legislation may help domestic violence victims in New Jersey

A new bill is making its way through the New Jersey legislative process. It has had its first hearing in the Assembly and can now move forward. If passed, a new law would allow victims of domestic violence to testify against their abuser by camera, rather than in person. This is a change from the current rule that requires that the victim appear in the courtroom in most criminal cases.

Though the proposal is now only in the New Jersey Assembly, supporters hope that a companion bill will appear in the Senate. No such proposal currently is moving through the Senate process, but one has been introduced. This was the new bill's first hearing in the legislative process.

There are concerns from some lawmakers that the proposal that is intended to help domestic violence victims may be unconstitutional. This comes from the right of those charged with a crime, such as domestic violence, to confront their accusers. Currently, only victims of child molestation are allowed to testify via camera in New Jersey.

The domestic violence bill has the required amount of sponsors and co-sponsors that it needs to be able to pass through the Assembly. Though this proposal has a long way to go in the legislative process, supporters hope that it can ease the emotional difficulties some domestic violence victims experience. One such difficulty is often when they are forced to appear in front of their abusers during a court procedure.

Due to the highly emotional state in which domestic violence victims may find themselves, they may hesitate to continue a court battle against their accuser. One valuable tool that may help victims is having a strong support system in place that will work to protect their rights and safety. New Jersey residents have a right to protect themselves from harm; including physical, psychological and fiscal, all of which can occur after a domestic violence issue.

Source:, "Committee approves bill allowing domestic violence victims to testify remotely on camera," Angela Delli Santi, Sept. 28, 2012

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