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Senate Leaders, Advocates Stress the Need for Greater Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors

Trenton – Senate leaders, domestic violence advocates, support groups and survivors joined together today to discuss the need for reforms to the state’s current pretrial release assessment and statewide domestic violence resources.

“Today’s roundtable enabled us to not only increase public awareness of domestic violence, but also to increase our awareness as legislators of what we need to do to reduce its prevalence in our state,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “The issue is especially pressing this year as the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased instances of abuse.”

“Victims of domestic violence can face life-threatening danger when they separate from their abusers,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex). “While we are working on legislation to implement greater protections for survivors as their abusers await trial, more needs to be done to ensure they have the support they need to find housing and employment so they are not forced to return to an unsafe situation.”

“The effects of domestic abuse are life-altering, and I have worked diligently in my role as chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee to pass laws to help protect survivors from their abusers,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “I am proud to have been a part of today’s thoughtful and insightful discussion.”

The panel included:

  • Senate President Steve Sweeney
  • Senator M. Teresa Ruiz
  • Senator Linda Greenstein
  • Jennifer Stonerod, Assistant Attorney General, Chief of Staff, Division of Criminal Justice
  • Elizabeth Ruebman, NJ Division of Criminal Justice
  • Mary Houtsma, Essex County Family Justice Center
  • Tia Manochio, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Domestic Violence Unit
  • Trish Perlmutter, Partners for Women and Justice
  • Pamela Jacobs, NJ Coalition to End Domestic Violence
  • Tikesha James, Essex County VOICES Chapter