BILL WOULD PROTECT SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News 

A measure under consideration in New Jersey would give more victims of sexual assault access to protection from their attackers.

Current law requires victims to have a domestic relationship with the offender or file a criminal complaint against the attacker to obtain a protective order from a judge.
 
Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle says her bill would eliminate those conditions.

"Whether it's an increase in reporting or an increase in incidences around college campuses, sexual assault is on the rise. This will allow a victim to be more protected, whether there is a stalking, whether there is a reason to feel that they need this restraining order."

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora is also a municipal prosecutor. He says the legislation would help more victims feel safe.

“Often I see the times where the judge wants to impose a protective order but can’t because there’s not a familiar or live in arrangement. This would open it up so there’s a first time date or a casual relationship which becomes obsessive and also abusive.”

Gusciora says a restraining order can be an effective deterrent because if it’s violated, it’s a felony and the offender would face jail time.

The Assembly voted unanimously to pass the measure. It's still awaiting action in the Senate.