In Brief

Governor Murphy signs new law expanding restraining orders for abuse victims

By: - July 24, 2023 4:32 pm

Sen. Jon Bramnick sponsored a bill to expand protections for abuse victims who have no relationship with their abuser. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law on July 24, 2023. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a new law Monday that closes the “stranger loophole” for people seeking restraining orders against their abusers.

Previously, judges could issue these orders without a criminal conviction only in domestic violence cases or in stalking cases involving minors or adults with a mental disability.

The new law expands protections to abuse victims who have no relationship with their abuser and adds stalking and cyber harassment to the list of prohibited acts that qualify a victim to receive a stay-away order.

It also renames the Sexual Assault Survivors Protection Act, which lawmakers passed in 2015, as the Victim’s Assistance and Survivor Protection Act to protect all victims of abusive behavior.

Sen. Jon Bramnick (R-Union) was a prime sponsor of the bill.

“Gov. Murphy just signed a life-saving bill that will increase protections for victims of stalking who do not have a prior relationship with the defendant,” Bramnick said. “In too many instances, the police have been unable to do anything when extremely dangerous or threatening behavior is reported. This new law will make it easier for more victims to get protective restraining orders before frightening conduct escalates to actual harm.”


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Dana DiFilippo
Dana DiFilippo

Dana DiFilippo comes to the New Jersey Monitor from WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and the Philadelphia Daily News, a paper known for exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable. Prior to that, she worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and suburban Philadelphia and has freelanced for various local and national magazines, newspapers and websites. She lives in Central Jersey with her husband, a photojournalist, and their two children.