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Gopal Bill Requiring Law Enforcement to Conduct Danger Assessment of Victims of Domestic Violence Advances

Trenton – A Senate committee today approved legislation authored by Senator Vin Gopal that would require law enforcement officers to carry out a danger assessment of domestic violence victims as well as provide assistance to those victims who are deemed to be at a higher risk of harm.

The bill, S-2051, gained the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Domestic violence, which can lead to physical and emotional abuse of victims, and sometimes lead to death, is a national tragedy that is no stranger to our state,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “The danger assessment is a valuable tool that can be utilized by police and other professionals to properly evaluate the risk of homicide in situations of alleged domestic violence, and possibly save lives.”

Under the bill, a danger assessment would be conducted with the consent of the alleged victim using an objective, standardized, and evidence-based domestic violence danger assessment instrument approved by the Attorney General, in consultation with the Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board in the Department of Children and Families.

The bill would also require the Attorney General to include in the current domestic violence curriculum for law enforcement officer training information on how to conduct the danger assessment as well as how to notify and facilitate access to services to alleged victims who are deemed to be at an elevated risk of harm.

In the U.S., approximately 10 million people experience domestic violence annually. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.

In New Jersey alone, there were 63,058 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2020.