Domestic Violence Unit:
The Domestic Violence Unit is
responsible for the prosecution of domestic violence cases in criminal court and
violations of restraining orders, also called contempts, in family court. The Unit also
handles all weapons seized pursuant to domestic violence.
Police officers are required by law
to seize any weapons located on the premises when they respond to a domestic violence call.
When weapons are seized, the office files a forfeiture action which is heard in family court.
The weapons can either be forfeited to the state, sold to a third party, or returned to the
owners if the judge finds that the domestic violence situation no longer exists.
The unit also handles domestic aggravated
assault cases in criminal court. The cases are screened for special handling and are presented
to the Grand Jury and handled throughout the plea-bargaining process, trial, and sentencing.
Cases are prosecuted even if the victim is reluctant to testify against the abuser. Since its
inception in 2003, this “evidence based prosecution” protocol has proven to be very successful
in stopping the cycle of domestic violence that is prevalent in domestic violence relationships.
A significant portion of this
Unit’s energy and time is spent on dealing with concerns and questions of the victims.
These questions about their cases can range from the very general to the very specific.
The Unit also works closely with many
police departments and is available to advise and assist in all matters involving domestic
violence, and conducts extensive training sessions for police officers
The victim-witness counselor in the
unit contacts every victim on every case to advise the victim as to the status of the case,
and to seek the input of the victim regarding the possible sentence, and assists the victim
in obtaining restitution or referrals for housing assistance, social services,
or support groups for the victim or children of the victim. The victim-witness counselor also
accompanies the victims in criminal court if the victim desires to be present at each court
If a situation meets the criteria of a domestic violence situation, law enforcement
officers are required to follow certain procedures, and victims may obtain a domestic
violence restraining order against the abuser. Interviewing the victim is critical to
the prosecution of the case.
A victim seeking a restraining order may go to the Middlesex County Family Courthouse
located at 120 New Street in New Brunswick, N.J. during business hours. After hours,
on weekends, and holidays, a victim may seek a temporary restraining in the case of an
emergency at the local police department.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
To obtain a domestic violence restraining order the plaintiff and defendant must have a relationship. They must be married, be living or have lived together or be dating or have dated. It also includes persons who have a child in common, or persons who anticipate having a child in common, one of whom is pregnant. The defendant must have committed an offense against the plaintiff.
These offenses include
||Assault || Terroristic threats |
| Kidnapping || Criminal restraint || False imprisonment
| Sexual assault || Criminal sexual contact || Lewdness |
| Criminal mischief || Criminal trespass || Burglary |
One of these offenses must be committed, but not necessarily criminally
charged. The offense can be criminally charged or not criminally charged,
it makes no difference. Domestic violence restraining orders can be obtained
on weekdays during business hours at the Middlesex County Family Court,
120 New St, New Brunswick, N.J. After business hours and on weekends and
holidays restraining orders can be obtained from the municipal police
and municipal courts. The initial restraining order, a temporary restraining
order is obtained ex parte, that is by one party. About one week later,
after the defendant is served, a hearing with both parties present is
held. Attorneys may be present. If the plaintiff is successful at the
hearing a final restraining order is issued.