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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Unit

New Jersey’s "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991" and its subsequent amendments offer strong protection to victims of domestic violence. The law confers both civil and criminal remedies. Victims may obtain civil restraining orders through municipal or Family courts, and mandatory arrests involve the criminal justice system.

The Domestic Violence Unit of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office is charged with enforcing the criminal provisions of New Jersey’s domestic violence law. Consolidated in this unit are all areas of domestic violence prosecution; contempt's (Violations of Restraining Orders) in the Superior Court, Family Part; indictable crimes domestic in nature in the Superior Court, Criminal Part; and forfeitures of weapons seized in domestic violence cases.

Cases assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit are processed by vertical prosecution, which means that one assistant prosecutor and investigator handle the case from receipt in the office through final disposition. The concept of vertical prosecution is often times employed in sensitive cases, such as sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence, in order to bolster the confidence of victims and to ensure specially trained and sensitized personnel are assigned to the cases.

In addition to four attorneys and three investigators, the Office of Victim Witness Advocacy has one victim-witness advocate assigned to the domestic violence unit. The advocate meets with victims to provide assistance, information, emotional support, advocacy, and referrals to additional services such as temporary shelter or counseling, as appropriate. The advocate can assist victims with safety needs by offering a free 9-1-1 cell phone and/or help obtaining an ADT alarm pendant. The advocate can also accompany victims to court, assist with VCCO applications for crime compensation, explain the criminal justice system and civil remedies. The advocate will obtain the proper information to insure that written notifications are mailed to victims on the status of their cases.

The unit, which is partially funded by a grant made available under the "Violence Against Women Act" (VAWA), answers legal questions for police departments, teaches at the Passaic County Police Academy and offers community presentations on domestic violence. The unit works closely with the Passaic County Women’s Center, a not-for-profit, State-designated organization that offers shelter and counseling to domestic violence victims. The unit also participates in the Passaic County Working Group on Domestic Violence, a group of representatives from the courts, governmental departments, hospitals and women’s agencies that meets bi-monthly to discuss and resolve domestic violence issues in the county.

New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-572-SAFE (7233)

Passaic County Women's Center: 973-881-1450