Trenton – In a move to strengthen protections for victims of stalking and online harassment, the Senate today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Vin Gopal which would allow restraining orders for situations in which domestic violence statutes do not apply.
“While most stalkers tend to be current or former partners, in nearly one fifth of cases the perpetrator is a stranger. Stalking can go on for months or even years, forcing people to live in fear with no legal recourse until the situation escalates,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “This legislation will empower victims to take legal action and obtain a restraining order, providing them with a crucial tool to proactively protect themselves before a stalking situation escalates.”
The bill, S-1517, would authorize the issuance of restraining orders in situations where the domestic violence statutes do not apply because the victim lacks a prior or existing spousal, household or dating relationship with the offender.
Under the bill, individuals would be able to seek a restraining order against someone they do not know or who may be a casual acquaintance in response to instances of stalking, cyber-harassment, sexual assault or criminal sexual contact.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.