Courts & Hospital Join to Assist Domestic Violence Victims

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ELIZABETH — The Union Vicinage Family Division has joined with Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth to launch the Hospital to Court Safety Assistance Project to enhance support available to domestic violence victims.

The Hospital to Court Safety Assistance Project will allow victims who seek treatment at Trinitas Regional Medical Center’s emergency room to apply for a temporary restraining order without leaving the hospital during court hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A social worker or nurse will make the initial contact with the court.

A court professional conducts the initial interview and helps the victim complete the application for a temporary restraining order by telephone and over a closed encrypted video conferencing system. An interpreter is provided if needed.

After the application is complete, the victim appears before a judge or hearing officer over the video network regarding the application. If the order is granted, copies will be sent to the hospital immediately. After the hearing, the judge or hearing officer will provide the victim with additional information about the court process and other available resources.

The project, which is funded through the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), began in Passaic Vicinage in partnership with St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson. This type of collaboration between the courts and hospitals has expanded to include hospitals across the state.

New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act permits all victims of domestic violence to apply for a restraining order to protect them from further harm. Victims are protected under law if they are being abused by a spouse, former spouse or the co-parent of a child. Victims also are protected if they are living with or have lived with the abuser or if they are dating or have dated the abuser.


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