TRENTON, NJ - This Thursday December 17 legislators will have the opportunity to vote on two bills that will have a direct impact on the safety and lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence. The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence calls on the legislature to vote in support of the bills and every citizen in New Jersey to call local representatives so that victims are not left standing alone. For a list of representatives please visit:
Override Governor Chris Christie’s Veto of Bipartisan Bill A4218/S2786:
At the time of his veto, Governor Christie stated that one of the reasons for not signing A4218 into law was because the law “substantially restates New Jersey’s existing laws that govern firearms and domestic violence and does not offer new and sensible improvements to those current laws.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. While New Jersey does have strong firearms laws as they relate to domestic violence, the challenge is that the laws are not implemented and applied consistently county to county resulting in gaps in the law enforcement and court response to domestic violence offenders – leaving victims vulnerable and at risk of experiencing further harm or even death. The significance of A4218 is that it seeks to close those loopholes to offer law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and the courts more guidance to make sure that laws are implemented with more consistency county to county regardless of where a victim lives or seeks help – improving safety for all victims in New Jersey.
Vote in Favor of A1677/S995 to Support the Development of a Community Reintegration Program for Certain Survivors of Domestic Violence
The primary purpose of A1677/S995 is to create a Community Reintegration Program for incarcerated persons who have been convicted of a violent crime against another person who had abused them. The primary purpose of this bill is to address the plight of victims of domestic violence who find themselves in the position of using force against someone who had subjected them to years of horrific abuse. When they use force, usually to preserve their own lives, their children’s lives and safety, they may or may not get any consideration of the abuse they experienced in the charging, plea agreement, or sentencing of their case. As a result, they are serving sometimes very lengthy prison terms and unable to receive post-conviction relief. This bill acknowledges the limitations of our justice system to address the special situation these cases present by creating an avenue for mitigating the punishment of these victims in certain cases.
This is by no means a get out of jail free card. To be eligible, an inmate must serve at least one third of their sentence or 10 years, whichever is less, must have shown good behavior while incarcerated, must not have been convicted of any other violent crime, must be determined to have a small likelihood of recidivism and must not violate any of the conditions of the reintegration program or be subject to reincarceration.
Please support these bills and support victims and survivors of domestic violence – don't let them stand alone. Together we can improve the safety of all victims of domestic violence in New Jersey.
About the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV)
Known as the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women (NJCBW) for nearly 40 years, NJCEDV provides leadership, support and resources on the prevention of domestic violence for all victims in New Jersey through advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and community awareness.
Help is Available:
To learn if a relationship is abusive or if abuse is suspected, it is important to take it seriously, get information and share resources. Help is available in every county and for every victim through a network of programs dedicated to serving domestic violence victims and their families. The State Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-572-SAFE (7233). A list of programs and services is available at NJCEDV.org.