New Jersey's 7th Legislative District

Senator Diane Allen

Senator Diane Allen

Allen Bill to Protect Domestic Violence Victims from Cyber-Harassment Heads to Governor

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Protections for domestic violence victims, including restraining orders, would be extended to victims of cyber-harassment under legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) and advanced by the New Jersey Senate.

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

“Cyber-harassment is an easy and inexpensive way for a domestic violence perpetrator to continue to inflict pain and exert control over a partner,” Senator Allen said. “Cyber-stalkers can now use social media and other websites to locate their victims, send threatening messages or commit identity theft. We have to ensure that the domestic violence protections we currently have in place, including restraining orders, also extend to those who are being victimized online.”

Senator Allen’s 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.

“More than 1.5 million people who reported identity thefts in 2004 were also victims of domestic violence,” Senator Allen said. “These victims are just as deserving of the law’s protection as those who are physically assaulted or stalked by a violent partner.”

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.

The Assembly version of Senator Allen’s bill was unanimously passed by the Assembly in February. The legislation now heads to the Governor’s desk for final approval.

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