At the time of this writing, New Jersey and 31 other states have all moved to a “lockdown” mode, meaning people are to stay at home as much as possible in an attempt to flatten the curve of the coronavirus spreading across the country. It is estimated that there are some 245 million Americans (three out of every four people), under a shelter-in-place mandate.
In many happy families where both parents usually work outside the home and their children are in school, they are now struggling to figure out how to spend so much time together without driving each other crazy. But what happens in those families where domestic violence has been an issue?
Uptick in Domestic Violence Calls
Being trapped at home with an abusive partner is very serious, and several law enforcement officials are predicting that there will be a surge in domestic violence calls the longer the lockdowns go on. Uncertain times, stress, and being in close proximity for a long period of time is a “perfect storm” for domestic violence incidents.
Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent who now works as a consultant to ABC News, said,
"[The lockdown] also may make it more difficult for the abused to report domestic violence, since they are constantly with the abusers. If they can escape, the shelters then have issues because they are typically set up in dormitory settings, obviously a problem with spreading the virus.”
There have been a few other unintended consequences of the pandemic. Victims of abuse may be afraid to go to the hospital to have their injuries treated because they don't want to come into contact with anyone who might have coronavirus. In New York, a woman said her partner physically threw her out of their home because he thought she had COVID-19.
Options During Coronavirus Shutdown
In New Jersey, a victim of domestic violence can be
- A current or former spouse
- An immediate family member
- Anyone who is in an intimate relationship with the defendant
An alleged victim of domestic violence may choose to file either an ex parte or full restraining order against a defendant. Right now, New Jersey courts are closed to in-person interactions to slow the spread of the virus. Restraining order hearings are still being conducted, but only by phone or video conferencing.
New Jersey Domestic Violence Attorney
Times are tense right now, and being on lockdown can lead to even more domestic stress. Misunderstandings may occur, and some situations may go from being unpleasant to misconstrued. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help if you are dealing with a domestic violence situation or restraining order question. Mr. Lento appreciates the gravity of the situation we are in right now, and he can consult with you either by phone or video conference, just as the courts are doing. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.