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Fundamentals of Spousal Abuse in New Jersey

Spousal Abuse Definition in NJSpousal abuse is any abusive behavior between intimate partners who are married, dating, or living in the same place (cohabitating).  It can refer to sporadic instances or frequent, cyclical incidents.  Spousal abuse is especially damaging because of its emotional, psychological, and physical damage caused over time. Spousal abuse is a subset within the area of domestic violence.  Child abuse and elder abuse, or abuse between family members, are also components of domestic abuse.  Spousal abuse refers to the violence that occurs between adults who are in an intimate relationship.  They need not be married.  Spousal abuse can occur between partners who are engaged or dating.

If you are a victim of spousal abuse or feel you’re at risk, it is critical to understand that legal help and a variety of other resources are available for you. Likewise, if you have been accused of abusing your spouse, you need to know your rights and enlist assistance from an experienced spousal abuse attorney who can defend you vigorously. Otherwise, the ramifications of these allegations can mean a restraining order against you and criminal charges for an act of domestic violence. At The Tormey Law Firm, our legal team is dedicated to protecting the best interests of clients in cases of spousal abuse in Belvidere, Hunterdon, Livingston, Millburn, Elizabeth, and throughout New Jersey. Complete our online contact form or call us at (908)-336-5008 to receive a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Prevalence of Spousal Abuse in New Jersey

In a report presented by the New Jersey Police in 2020, there were 63,058 offenses reported.  Spousal abuse cases were more than 74% of those offenses (46,662). Twelve thousand six hundred sixty-nine offenders had an existing TRO (Temporary Restraining Order), while 9,659 offenders had a TRO that was issued. Abuse between boyfriends or girlfriends accounted for 14,511 cases, while 11,092 were between spouses.  Arrests were made in 49% of the incidents, and almost half of the cases involved a personal weapon.  Minor or no visible injuries totaled 29,022 cases, while 11% of those injured required medical assistance.  Harassment charges were placed in 38% of spousal abuse cases for that same year.  Saturday and Sunday were the most frequent days of the week for reported spousal abuse, and alcohol or drugs accounted for 34% of offenses.

Cycle of Abuse Dynamics

Spousal abuse causes its victims to suffer psychologically and physically.  It is normally cyclical, beginning with tension and stress, arguments, threats, and angry outbursts that could result in violence.  Violence can be physical, emotional, or sexual.  The waters will calm as the abuser apologizes, brings gifts, or attempts to patch things up, but the cycle of anger will come back around over and over unless something is done to stop it.  This kind of volatility can incite fear, low self-worth, anxiety, and depression in the victim.  They may withdraw from friends or family.  They may have trouble concentrating at work and have a loss of or an increased appetite due to stress.  Symptoms of PTSD may become apparent, and they may experience insomnia.  Not as common, but just as dangerous are suicidal ideations or emotional detachment.

How does Spousal Abuse Occur in New Jersey?

There are several classifications of spousal abuse in New Jersey.  Assault (physical violence), making threats, sexual assault, false imprisonment and restraint, lewdness, stalking, harassment, criminal mischief, and criminal trespass are all considered spousal abuse.  There may be additional criminal charges if restraining orders have already been issued and are ignored.

Spousal abuse isn’t exclusively physical.  Intimidation, such as making threats, brandishing weapons, destroying their property, or threatening to do them harm, is one form of abuse.  The victim lives in constant fear that something horrible will happen at the drop of a hat. Emotional abuse, such as telling the victim they are worthless, stupid, or useless.  Another example is responding in a hostile tone or not responding at all, known as the “silent treatment.”

Psychological abuse, such as gaslighting, can cause the victim to doubt what they have seen or heard or the conclusions they have reached as to the abuser’s unacceptable behavior. It is manipulation, plain and simple.  Playing mind games, making light of violence, and placing the blame on the victim, all of these tactics make up psychological abuse.  Accusing the victim of cheating, watching their every move, or scaring them can cause psychological scars.

Economic abuse is a subject that is often overlooked, and it can occur even when both spouses are working. Demanding the victim’s salary be deposited into an account controlled by the other spouse is a form of abuse.  It is more common for the abuser to tell their spouse it is better to stay at home to take care of the house or children, and they will pay the bills.  It seems like a romantic notion at first, but when the victim has no access to any money or is given an allowance, it becomes abusive.

Physical and sexual abuse are what comes to mind most frequently when discussing spousal abuse.  Throwing objects, breaking things, yelling, hitting, pinching, pulling hair, slapping, punching, and kicking are examples of physical violence.  Sexual abuse can be an abuser forcing their partner to have sex when they don’t want to or not allowing them to use birth control.

Identifying the Signs of Spousal Abuse

Need an Attorney Handling Spousal Abuse Cases in New JerseyIf your partner tells you that you never do anything right or is constantly criticizing your appearance, insults, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people, they may be considered an abuser.  If your spouse discourages you from seeing your friends or family or refuses to let you leave the house by yourself, you may be a victim of spousal abuse.  If you have no control over household finances and have no money of your own, you could be a victim of spousal abuse.  If your spouse pressures you to have sex, to perform acts of a sexual nature that you are uncomfortable with, or withholds sex from you as punishment or manipulation, this may constitute spousal abuse.  If you are physically accosted in any way, if your belongings are destroyed, or if you are threatened, spousal abuse may be happening to you.

Support Net to Address Spousal Abuse in NJ

There are certain circumstances when the police arrest in the case of spousal abuse.  If the victim has visible injuries, if a restraining order has been violated, if the suspect has an active warrant, or if the police have reason to believe a weapon was used in the incident, an arrest will be made. Additionally, New Jersey has a plethora of resources to help victims of spousal abuse.  The Department of Children and Families and the Division on Women have several programs designed to support the affected community. Spousal abuse programs, emergency shelters, 24-hour emergency hotlines, shelter referrals, counseling, and legal referrals are all offered in support of the victim. Survivors of marital abuse can pave the way for a more optimistic future by participating in support groups and utilizing the various resources offered by the state of New Jersey.

Seek Assistance from Our Dedicated Legal Team for Spousal Abuse Cases in New Jersey

If you’ve experienced spousal abuse or face charges or a restraining order related to it, you can depend on our expertise to provide the assistance you require right now. Each situation is unique, and our experienced New Jersey lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm possess the skills necessary to secure the most favorable outcome for you. We are attentive to your concerns and committed to identifying a practical solution that suits your specific circumstances. This is not the moment to handle this alone; our legal background handling domestic violence and spousal abuse cases and knowledge of the law can significantly influence the results of your case in Morristown, Union City, Hoboken, Jersey City, Cranford, Middlesex, Fort Lee, Metuchen, and other communities. Call us today at (908)-336-5008 for a free consultation. 

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With offices in Hackensack, Morristown, Newark, Middletown, and New Brunswick, our lawyers can represent you anywhere in New Jersey and are available immediately to assist you at (908)-336-5008

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Hackensack, NJ 07601

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Morristown, NJ 07960

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Newark, NJ 07102

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Travis J. Tormey is a distinguished member of the legal community and a respected legal resource on domestic violence. He has been featured in a variety of prominent publications and media outlets, including CBS radio, Aol News, the Asbury Park Press,, and the Daily Record. Mr. Tormey has also been recognized as one of the the top criminal attorneys under 40 years of age by the National Trial Lawyers Association and the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Whether representing victims or the wrongly accused, Travis remains passionately committed to protecting the rights of the innocent.

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The Tormey Law Firm LLC handles restraining order cases in Bergen County (Hackensack), Morris County (Morristown), Passaic County (Paterson), Union County (Elizabeth), Hudson County (Jersey City), Middlesex County (New Brunswick), Somerset County (Somerville), Sussex County (Newton), Essex County (Newark), Hunterdon County (Flemington), Mercer County (Trenton), Monmouth County (Freehold), Warren County (Belvidere), Ocean County (Toms River), Burlington County (Mount Holly), and throughout NJ.

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