October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in New Jersey. In honor of this significant part of the State’s yearly calendar, we are delving into the New Jersey State Police’s Thirty-Third Annual Domestic Violence Offense Report to identify key trends in New Jersey domestic violence statistics. The most recent data available is based on domestic violence offense reports submitted by every law enforcement agency in New Jersey in 2015.
How Often Does Domestic Violence Occur in New Jersey?
There were 61,659 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2015, which represents a 1 percent decrease compared to the prior year. Based on the numbers, this means that one act of domestic violence occurs every 8 minutes and 52 seconds. Domestic violence incidents occurred most frequently on Sundays, with a total of 10,736 police responses on this day of the week. Notably, the most common hours for domestic violence incidents have been the same every year for all of the years reported. In 2015, 25 percent of all offenses were reported between 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.
What Types of Domestic Violence Offenses Happen?
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act recognizes a variety of criminal offenses as predicate acts of domestic violence. Among these domestic violence offenses, there were 49 murders in 2015, an increase of 16 percent. 43 percent of all offenses involved assault, with a total of 26,413 assault offenses. Harassment accounted for another 43 percent, with a total of 26,338 reported offenses. Terroristic threats occured in 2,614 cases, while criminal mischief was involved 4,563 times. For the remaining offenses, the numbers were as follows:
- Burglary: 587
- Stalking: 338
- Criminal Trespass: 295
- Sexual Assault: 204
- Criminal Restraint: 129
- False Imprisonment: 49
- Criminal Sexual Contact: 45
- Kidnapping: 29
- Lewdness: 6
Who are the Victims of Domestic Abuse?
Domestic violence can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate by age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. However, there are certain relationship criteria that a person must meet to be recognized as a “victim” of domestic violence under NJ law. Specifically, you must have been, or currently be, in a dating relationship, married, sharing a residence, have a child, or be expecting a child with the other party. According to the data, domestic violence offenses arising from a dating relationship occurred in 9,044 cases, which accounts for 15 percent of the state total. Among all domestic violence incidents, children were involved or present during 28 percent, with 4 percent involved and 24 percent present. Females were the victims in 45,778 cases, which represents 74 percent of the total domestic violence offenses reported.
Does Domestic Violence Always Lead to an Arrest?
Domestic violence definitely does not always lead to an arrest. The officers arrive at the scene and must follow specific protocol. Among all of the offenses reported in 2015, 19,212 arrests were made for a domestic violence offense, accounting for 31 percent of all cases. There were also a total of 2,636 arrests involving domestic violence restraining orders. Among these, 1394 were for solely violations of a restraining order, while 1,242 were arrests for violations of a restraining order and an associated domestic violence offense.
What Should I do if I Have a Domestic Violence Case in New Jersey?
It is important to note that the data above represents alleged domestic violence offenses, not convictions. It also does not reflect what percentage of these allegations of domestic violence lead to Permanent Restraining Orders or criminal convictions for domestic violence offenses. There is a complex legal process that follows a police call to a domestic violence scene or a person filing a complaint for a temporary restraining order. Regardless of which side of these proceedings you are on, the results can spell long-term implications for your life. If you are involved in a domestic violence case in New Jersey, it is absolutely imperative to have an experienced NJ restraining order attorney on your side. Protecting and defending your rights as a victim or as a wrongly accused defendant is critical to ensure that justice is done. At The Tormey Law Firm, this is our passion. We are always available to provide you with a free consultation about your New Jersey domestic violence case. Simply contact us online or call (908)-336-5008 to speak with a New Jersey domestic violence lawyer.