New Jersey's 7th Legislative District

Senator Diane Allen

Senator Diane Allen

Allen Bill to Add Cyber Harassment to Domestic Violence Statutes Passes Senate Panel

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to include cyber-harassment in New Jersey’s domestic violence statutes was advanced by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Diane Allen’s legislation would add cyber-harassment to the state’s domestic violence statutes. (©iStock)

“When social media and other online sites are used to harass someone, it can be a real nightmare for the victims,” Senator Allen said. “Their tormentors can use these tools as a way to attack and humiliate them, often in very public ways. We need to extend our domestic violence laws to include cyber-harassment so people are protected from this kind of abuse.”

The legislation, S-1257, would allow victims of cyber-harassment to obtain temporary and permanent restraining orders under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.” There are currently 18 offenses covered under the act, including assault, stalking and robbery.

Cyber-harassment is a fourth-degree crime unless the person is 21 or older and impersonates a minor for the purpose of cyber-harassing a minor. In that case, it is a third-degree offense.

“We have very strong domestic violence laws already in place,” Senator Allen said. “We just need to update them for modern life so people aren’t specifically targeted through online interactions.”

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