A study has demonstrated that 83 percent of domestic violence survivors represented by an attorney successfully obtain a protective order, compared to only 32 percent for those without legal representation.
To identify and address gaps in legal access, the full Assembly voted 79-0 on Monday to clear a measure (AJR-30) establishing a 16-member task force charged with studying the impact of unmet legal needs in New Jersey domestic violence matters.
Sponsors of the joint resolution Assembly Democrats Carol Murphy (D-Burlington) and Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester) issued the following joint statement:
“Too often victims in domestic violence cases are unable to properly advocate for themselves in court because of a language barrier or inability to articulate the merits of their case. Whatever the circumstance, filing for a restraining order or defending yourself against allegations without representation has proven to be a severe limitation to ending cycles of violence and abuse.
“Under this measure, New Jersey could draw upon in-depth study of the problem and work to implement stronger, fairer public policy for survivors of abuse. When it’s personal safety at risk, everyone deserves the right to legal representation.”
The task force comprised of public members, State officials, field experts and academics would be required to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature within 18 months of organization.
The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.