If domestic violence is occurring in your home, there is hope, and there is help. In New Jersey, there are programs to help batterers understand the reasons they abuse their partners or children and employ strategies to change their behavior.
Defining Domestic Violence
The National Domestic Violence Hotline emphasizes that domestic violence is about gaining or maintaining power and control. In New Jersey, domestic violence is defined as as “a pattern of physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse, which includes, but is not limited to, threats, intimidation, isolation, and/or financial control.” They also note that no group is immune—domestic violence occurs in households in all socioeconomic brackets, in both same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, and with household members of any race or age. The stereotype that domestic violence is only a problem for those at the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum is false.
Domestic Violence Can Lead to a Restraining Order
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 identifies 19 criminal offenses as domestic violence. If someone provides evidence that you have a domestic relationship with them and have committed at least one of these offenses against them, they can obtain a restraining order. A restraining order can include an order for the defendant to obtain counseling. Being named as a defendant in a restraining order can have significant, long-term implications.
Behavior Change is Possible: Programs for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence
If domestic violence is occurring, it is important to receive help breaking the cycle of violence. Each party needs both legal advice from an experienced attorney and counseling.
For perpetrators of domestic violence, New Jersey has several options for counseling. The website of the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV) provides a list of domestic violence programs by county; visitors can filter the list for the seven counties with Batterers Intervention Groups. Here are some examples:
- Alternatives to Domestic Violence in Bergen County has services for victims, abusers, and family members; most services do not have a fee.
- In Atlantic County, AVANZAR's Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Programs include Fathers Ending Abuse, a counseling program to help batterers control their anger and eliminate abusive behavior.
- In Cape May County, support groups of the Coalition Against Rape & Abuse (C.A.R.A.) include M.E.N.D. (Men Exploring New Directions), a weekly group meeting focused on helping men who want to address issues of anger, control, and power.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline also has resources for perpetrators of domestic violence on its Help for Abusive Partners web page. This includes information about the factors behind abusive behaviors and assistance with getting help to change them.
Take the First Step—Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento
If you are involved in domestic violence, it is critical to seek advice from an experienced attorney. Joseph D. Lento can guide you through your legal options, and he can advise you on the role of counseling for perpetrators of domestic violence. The team at Lento Law Firm is ready to help you on the path to a home free of domestic violence. Call 888-535-3686 or use our contact form to take the first step on this important journey.