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NOW LAW: Lopez Bill Requiring Courts to Consider Coercive Control as a Factor for Issuing Restraining Orders in Domestic Violence Cases 

Bill Recognizes That Domestic Violence Isn’t Always Physical  

(TRENTON) – Courts are now required to consider additional criteria when determining whether to issue a final restraining order in domestic violence cases, under legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez that was signed into law this week. The new law is a recognition that domestic violence takes many forms.

The legislation (A-1475) requires courts to consider any pattern of coercive control against a person in requests for final restraining orders. Coercive control is an act or pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation, or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten a victim.

“I’ve heard from women who lived in fear, isolated and cut off from family and friends by an abusive partner,” said Assemblywoman Lopez (D-Middlesex). “This controlling behavior deprives an individual of their independence. For instance, abusers might monitor a victim’s communications, or make that person completely dependent on them financially. Now victims will have added protection under the law.” 

Coercive control may include, but would not be limited to:

  • isolating the person from friends, relatives, transportation, medical care, or other source of support;
  • depriving the person of basic necessities;
  • monitoring the person’s movements, communications, daily behavior, finances, economic resources, or access to services;
  • compelling the person by force, threat, or intimidation, including, but not limited to, threats based on actual or suspected immigration status;
  • threatening to make or making baseless reports to the police, courts, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), the Board of Social Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or other parties;
  • threatening to harm or kill the individual’s relative or pet;
  • threatening to deny or interfere with an individual’s custody or parenting time, other than through enforcement of a valid custody arrangement or court order pursuant to current law; or
  • any other factors or circumstances that the court deems relevant or material

New Jersey has resources available for victims of domestic violence. Click here for more information.