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Assembly Panel Approves Vainieri Huttle, Quijano & Mosquera Bill to Boost New Jersey’s Approach to Domestic Violence

An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Annette Quijano and Gabriela Mosquera to boost New Jersey’s approach to domestic violence by taking a comprehensive, coordinated look at current practices and identifying areas where the state can improve its strategies and protections.

“Domestic violence transcends all socio-economic backgrounds and requires a comprehensive effort to help combat it effectively,” added Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This coordinated strategy will help us determine what works, what falls short, and where we need to concentrate our efforts to improve our domestic violence response.”

Specifically, the bill (A-2163) would create a 16-member task force to review current law, practices, and procedures in New Jersey concerning domestic violence and abuse.

“Roughly a quarter of all women in the United States have reported experiencing domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. This begs greater attention from all levels of government,” said Quijano (D-Union). “By bringing together all of our relevant stakeholders, we can create a more comprehensive response to tackle this persistent problem.”

This bill directs the task force to submit a report to the governor and the legislature no later than 18 months after the organization of the task force with recommendations for legislation and strategies to create more effective and efficient policies related to domestic violence and abuse issues.

“To effectively help victims of domestic violence going forward, we have to take an assessment of what is working and not working for families in New Jersey,” added Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Even though domestic violence programs and services are located throughout the state, our laws must also be effective in order to support them along the way.”

The task force would be comprised of the commissioners of the departments of Children and Families, Human Services, and Corrections, the Attorney General, the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Public Defender, or their designees; four members of the legislature, no more than two of whom shall be from the same party; and six public members, two to be appointed by the Senate President, two to be appointed by the Assembly Speaker and two to be appointed by the Governor.

The bill was approved 6-0 by the Assembly Women and Children Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.