(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel on Thursday approved four bills sponsored by Assembly Democrats to combat domestic violence by establishing procedures for handling reports from public workers, requiring counseling for domestic violence offenders, and allowing a tax credit for resident who contribute to domestic violence shelters.
The bills are sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Reed Gusciora, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Pamela Lampitt, Angelica Jimenez, Paul D. Moriarty, Arthur Barclay, Patricia Egan Jones and Gabriela Mosquera.
The bills include:
- A-843, sponsored by Quijano, Gusciora, Mosquera, Jimenez, and Moriarty, would require that defendants convicted of a domestic violence offense who are placed on probation or have their sentence suspended must attend domestic violence counseling.
"In order to effectively combat domestic violence, there needs to be a twofold approach: cracking down on offenders while also enhancing protections for victims," said Quijano (D-Union). "Counseling for offenders is a good start to systemically tackling the root of the problem."
"Counseling will essentially help us treat the disease, rather than just masking the symptoms," said Gusciora (D-Mercer, Hunterdon). "This is a smart component to a comprehensive strategy to tackle domestic violence."
"By offering counseling for offenders we open the door to healing for families," said Jimenez (D-Bergen, Hudson). "Counseling is an integral part of ending the cycle of domestic violence."
"This legislation provides an alternative solution for the courts, the offenders and their families," said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). "By requiring counseling, we help to stop the cycle of domestic violence with an opportunity for offenders to receive the help they desperately need."
- A-3367, sponsored by Vainieri Huttle and Mosquera, would allow qualified New Jersey taxpayers to deduct from their gross income an amount equal to 50% of a contribution of $100 or more, made to a qualified domestic violence shelter.
"Domestic violence has a devastating impact on men, women, and children across our state," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "In encouraging donations to shelters, this bill reflects New Jersey's support for those impacted by domestic violence and our denunciation of abuse in this state."
- A-4124, sponsored by Mosquera, Barclay, Egan Jones, Vainieri Huttle and Lampitt, would require the Civil Service Commission to develop a uniform domestic violence policy, which all employers will adopt and distribute to their employees, regardless of whether a public employer is subject to the provisions of Title 11A, Civil Service, of the New Jersey Statutes.
"Domestic violence affects the lives of many state workers throughout New Jersey," said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). "There should be a policy in place to guide human resource workers in helping state employees in the workplace who are dealing with domestic violence."
"Victims of domestic violence often do not know where to turn for help with their situation," said Barclay (D-Camden, Gloucester). "They should be able to receive support from their workplace. This legislation will help to put those policies in place."
- A-4125, sponsored by Mosquera, Barclay, Egan Jones, Vainieri Huttle and Lampitt, would establish mandatory program for human resources officers of public employers on handling and responding to reports of domestic violence.
"By educating human resource officers on the proper way to address reports of domestic violence, we create more outlets for domestic violence victims and help save more lives from abuse and violence," said Egan Jones (D-Camden, Gloucester). "This legislation is important to combatting domestic violence throughout the state."
"Legislation such as this one is essential to stopping the never-ending cycle of violence occurring in homes throughout New Jersey," said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). "Preparing human resource officers to help state employees in these situations is a responsible approach to helping stop domestic violence."