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  • Allison Roberts

Recent Protections Added and Available to Victims of Abuse in the State of New Jersey

There are two recent changes to the laws in New Jersey important to victims of abuse:

1. VASPA – Previously known as the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA) which had

a more limited application, the Victim’s Assistance and Survivor Protection Act, or VASPA, took

effect on January 1, 2024.


A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) can now issue under VASPA if, after judicial review, an

alleged act is a violation of one of the enumerated laws (for example: assault, criminal mischief

or harassment) even when there is no current or prior family relationship. With the rise in cyber-

harassment and stalking, the need to provide protection when there is no romantic or familial

relationship (a requirement under the still in existence Prevention of Domestic Violence act

(NJSA 2c:25-17 et seq) has evolved with our changing technology.

Applications for protection under VASPA are available at the Family Division in each of County’s

Superior Courts.


2. Coercive Control – when applying for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in the context

of a romantic or family relationship, a Plaintiff can now add information about Coercive Control.

Coercive Control is a pattern of behavior in-between incidents of violence or abuse that is now

recognized and important to the judicial evaluation of any history between the parties alleged in

a Plaintiff’s application for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Such coercive conduct can

include isolating a victim, controlling access to money, or monitoring of the victim’s

communication with others.


Domestic violence affects all types of relationships, genders, ages, and economic levels in our society. This is an aspect of a relationship that I have handled in hundreds of divorce cases in my years as a former prosecutor and as an attorney representing clients.


Additional resources are available:


Hunterdon County:

SAFE in Hunterdon

Somerset County:

Safe + Sound Somerset

Warren County:

Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Warren County NJ


We are here to answer your questions. Please feel free to reach out to us at 908.237.3098 or use this contact form.

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