Bill Would Amend Current Law to Include New Parents of Child Victims of Domestic Violence
(Trenton) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Annette Quijano to expand the scope of current law pertaining to domestic violence victims and further protect New Jersey citizens cleared an Assembly panel today.
Under the current Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, a parent of an adopted child who is subjected to domestic violence by a person whose parental rights towards the adopted child have been terminated is not protected under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act 1991” unless some other relationship exists between the new parent and the victim which allows the victim to show he or she is a “victim of domestic violence.”
“Once a safe home has been provided for a child victim of domestic violence, it is up to the law to keep the child and new family protected from further victimization,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This bill would help to do exactly that. Extending protection under the law is the right thing to do.”
“This legislation would allow New Jersey to strengthen protections for domestic violence victims,” said Quijano (D-Union). “A new family and a new home is a chance for these children to begin again. The law should protect their new parents and their new safe haven.”
The proposed legislation (A-781) would amend the definition of “victim of domestic violence” in the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991” to include any parent of an adopted child who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person whose parental rights towards the adopted child to avail himself or herself of the protections afforded by the act.
Under the bill, the term domestic violence is defined and includes any of the following crimes when committed against a person protected under current law: Homicide, Assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass and harassment.
The bill was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee; and it now goes to the desk of the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.