Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New Protections Against An Abusive Menace

New Jersey State Senator Diane Allen’s legislation (S-1257) to add protections from cyber-harassment for victims of domestic violence was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

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Sen. Diane Allen’s new law adds cyber-harassment to the state’s domestic violence statutes. (©iStock)
“Cyber-harassment is now one of the most common ways that domestic abusers inflict pain and exert control over a partner,” said Allen (R-Burlington). “The damage and intimidation that can be accomplished through online channels, including websites, social media, and messaging platforms, is tremendous. It’s imperative that victims have the legal tools they need to fight back.”

The new law allows victims of cyber-harassment to obtain temporary and permanent restraining orders under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.” There are currently 18 offenses covered under the act, including assault, stalking and robbery.

“More than 1.5 million people who reported identity thefts in 2004 were also victims of domestic violence,” Senator Allen said. “These victims are just as deserving of the law’s protection as those who are physically assaulted or stalked by a violent partner.”

Cyber-harassment is a fourth-degree crime unless the person is 21 or older and impersonates a minor for the purpose of cyber-harassing a minor. In that case, it is a third-degree offense.

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