Expands means to obtain protective order for minor.
Sponsored by: Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex), Assemblyman STERLEY S. STANLEY District 18 (Middlesex)
This bill makes various changes to the laws concerning protective orders related to child abuse to make them more similar to the laws concerning protective orders related to domestic violence.
Section 1 of the bill clarifies whether the domestic violence laws or the child abuse laws control situations related to abuse of a child by a parent or guardian. It adds language to the relevant definition of “domestic violence” to state that when one or more of the acts enumerated in the list of crimes in the definition of domestic violence is inflicted on an unemancipated minor by a parent or guardian responsible for the child’s care, or spouse of the parent or guardian, or both, it is not domestic violence, but may be the basis for the filing of a petition or request for relief to obtain an order of protection pursuant to the State’s child abuse laws.
Sections 2 and 3 of the bill amend the relevant definitions of “abused child” and “abused or neglected child” to include exhibiting a pattern of behavior that emotionally impairs or creates an imminent danger of emotional impairment for the child.
The purpose of updating these sections is to expand the protections offered by the child abuse statutes.
The bill also provides that a court in child abuse or neglect cases may issue orders requiring persons to stay away from not just the abused child, but also other children identified by the court whose safety may be at risk. It further provides that a court may extend an order of protection beyond when the child reaches the age of majority if necessary to protect the person’s safety. An order so extended could be dissolved or modified upon good cause shown.
Additionally, the bill does the following concerning failures to comply with such orders of protection:
· provides that a parent or guardian willfully failing to comply with an order of protection without just cause commits a contempt offense under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9;
· provides that for a second or subsequent non-indictable contempt offense, a person is subject to a mandatory term of not less than 30 days imprisonment;
· requires that all contempt proceedings be conducted in Superior Court pursuant to the Supreme Court’s rules and guidelines; and
· requires that a law enforcement officer who finds that there is probable cause that a parent or guardian has committed an act of contempt of an order of protection shall arrest the person, take them into custody, and file a complaint.