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Cyber Harassment Victims Could Get Restraining Order Under Proposed NJ Law

"We need to extend our domestic violence laws to include cyber-harassment so people are protected from this kind of abuse.”
"We need to extend our domestic violence laws to include cyber-harassment so people are protected from this kind of abuse.” Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT file photo

Cyber harassment would be considered domestic violence -- allowing victims to obtain restraining orders -- if a bill advanced by a legislative panel in Trenton on Monday becomes law.

Although 18 offenses are currently covered under New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence act -- among them, stalking, robbery and assault -- cyber harassment isn't.

“When social media and other online sites are used to harass someone, it can be a real nightmare for the victims,” said state Sent. Diane Allen (R-Burlington), one of the bill's sponsors. “Their tormentors can use these tools as a way to attack and humiliate them, often in very public ways.

"We need to extend our domestic violence laws to include cyber-harassment so people are protected from this kind of abuse.”

The legislation, forwarded to the full state Senate by its Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday, would allow victims of cyber-harassment to obtain temporary and permanent restraining orders.

“We have very strong domestic violence laws already in place,” Allen said. “We just need to update them for modern life so people aren’t specifically targeted through online interactions.”

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