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McKnight, Chaparro Bill Requiring Counseling for Minors Exposed to Domestic Violence Clears Assembly Panel

To help children exposed to the emotional and psychological trauma of domestic violence, a bill requiring that they receive counseling, as directed by the courts, was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee Thursday.

The measure (A-1426) would require counseling for minor children who were either physically present to witness or close enough to hear such abuse. Assemblywomen Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) and Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson) are primary sponsors of the measure and released the following statements:

Assemblywoman McKnight (Vice-chair, Woman and Children Committee)

“In 2018, there were nearly 90,000 cases of domestic violence reported in New Jersey. Inevitably, children either witnessed some of these acts in person or were in earshot of them. In either case, these youngsters, like the victims, now have memories of these heinous incidents forever etched in their minds, hearts and souls. It is crucial that they get help, and this bill looks to be a part of the healing process by getting them the counseling that they need.”

Assemblywoman Chaparro

“For far too many children, memories of domestic violence remain buried in their emotions and subconscious, because they never received professional counseling. Sadly, some of these same children repeat this behavior by physically, verbally or emotionally abusing others. In other words, they repeat what they witnessed as children. This bill will help prevent such cycles.”

The bill is now poised for an Assembly vote.