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.
“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.”
Cyber-harassment is common way that people commit domestic violence. Law must protect victims of cyber-stalking too. https://t.co/LbLuKfJ521
— Senator Diane Allen (@dianeallennj) October 20, 2016
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.