A bill Assemblywomen Celeste M. Riley sponsored to bolster protections for domestic violence victims was approved by the full Assembly today. The Assemblywomen said the bill, which passed by a vote of 77-1, is designed to help deter domestic violence by making penalties more stringent.
The measure (A-1491) is aimed at deterring future acts of domestic violence by imposing certain bail restrictions for anyone charged with contempt of a domestic violence restraining order.
“In some cases today, restraining order violators can get away with posting only $50 bail,” Riley said (D-Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester. “Given the emotional and physical trauma that victims have already been subjected to, they should be able to receive some measure of comfort knowing our laws do everything possible to protect their safety in the future. By upgrading penalties for individuals who have victimized an intimate partner, we are sending a clear message that domestic disputes that result in violence will be treated with the utmost seriousness.”
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. With 85 percent of domestic violence victims being women, it’s estimated that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
Currently, it is a crime of the fourth degree for a person to violate a provision in a restraining order. Generally, the court may allow defendants to be released on bail after they post 10 percent of the amount of bail in cash.
This bill would add offenses involving violations of domestic violence restraining orders to the list of crimes with bail restrictions, preventing violators from using the 10 percent cash option for posting bail. Individuals charged with these crimes may only post bail in the form of full cash, a surety bond or a bail bond secured by real property situated in the state with an unencumbered equity equal to the amount of bail plus $20,000.