A bill upgrading the penalties for domestic violence crimes, sponsored by Assembly Republicans Erik Peterson, Ron Dancer and Maria Rodriquez-Gregg, was unanimously advanced today by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Peterson (R-Hunterdon) said the legislation was inspired by constituent Andrea Strony, who told Peterson her story of domestic violence and, due to a shortcoming in New Jersey law, the perpetrator’s only punishment was a small fine. Strony testified at the committee hearing to support the measure.
“Andrea was attacked for more than two hours by her ex-boyfriend. She was brutally beaten and traumatized by the experience,” said Peterson (R-Hunterdon). “Her case is an example of the long-term damage these victims suffer while the perpetrators of domestic violence only pay a fine. This bill sends a clear message to these cowards that there will be a high price to pay for violating the mutual expectation of physical safety in a domestic relationship.”
“It’s more than alarming that more than 80 percent of women who were stalked by their partner were also physically assaulted,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “We need to continue fighting back by letting these offenders know they are going to jail for their terroristic and abhorrent behavior. Domestic violence is a serious problem that requires serious consequences.”
The bill (A1548) upgrades the penalties for assaulting a domestic violence victim when the offender violates a restraining order.
“A slap on the hand is not sufficient punishment for a crime that causes such physical and psychological damage and, at its very worst, death,” said Rodriquez-Gregg (R-Burlington). “This reform gives prosecutors another tool to combat this epidemic.”