If an issue arises in a person’s household and an act of domestic violence has occurred, the police should immediately be called. An act of domestic violence does not just mean physical violence, however. In fact, “an act of domestic violence” is a legal term that has been defined by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act in New Jersey. According to 2C:25-19, Domestic violence “means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts inflicted upon a person protected under this act by an adult or an emancipated minor: (1) Homicide N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq., (2) Assault N.J.S.2C:12-1, (3) Terroristic threats N.J.S.2C:12-3, (4) Kidnapping N.J.S.2C:13-1, (5) Criminal restraint N.J.S.2C:13-2, (6) False imprisonment N.J.S.2C:13-3, (7) Sexual assault N.J.S.2C:14-2, (8) Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.2C:14-3, (9) Lewdness N.J.S.2C:14-4, (10) Criminal mischief N.J.S.2C:17-3, (11) Burglary N.J.S.2C:18-2, (12) Criminal trespass N.J.S.2C:18-3, (13) Harassment N.J.S.2C:33-4, (14) Stalking P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10), (15) Criminal coercion N.J.S.2C:13-5, (16) Robbery N.J.S.2C:15-1, (17) Contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 that constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense, (18) Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.), and (19) Cyber-harassment P.L.2013, c.272 (C.2C:33-4.1). In essence, an act of domestic violence only occurs when one of the above crimes has been committed. There also must be some sort of domestic connection between the parties (i.e. romantic relationship, child involved, family member, etc.).
If a Temporary Restraining Order was granted, the analysis does not stop there. In Silver v. Silver, 387 N.J.Super. 112 (App. Div. 2006), the Court set up a two-pronged analysis for how the Court should look at granting Final Restraining Orders. All proofs must be met by the preponderance of the evidence. First, an act of domestic violence had to have occurred, as noted above. That is the first prong; the Plaintiff must prove that one of the above crimes occurred. Second, after the first prong is met, the Plaintiff must show that there is objective and subjective fear that future acts of domestic violence will occur. The Court created the dual standard, meaning it is not enough that the Plaintiff is afraid, but that a reasonable person would also be afraid of future domestic violence. The victim of domestic violence does not need to fear for one’s life, necessarily, just that future domestic violence would occur.