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Domestic Violence Victims Can Get Help During COVID-19

New Jersey Resources for Domestic Violence Victims During COVID-19

On March 13, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. By August 5, New Jersey had more than 189,000 cases and nearly 16,000 deaths. Domestic violence victims may face difficulty accessing both social and health services, so here are some available resources.

New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline

The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline is staffed 24/7 and provides confidential access to information and resources related to domestic violence. Crisis intervention and referrals are available. This hotline also has access for those who are hearing impaired or who don’t speak English. Their phone number is 1-800-572-SAFE (7233). Our divorce attorneys may recommend a hotline to you if you are in crisis and need to get away from your partner because of a life-threatening situation. They can put you in contact with shelters and agencies paying for hotel rooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) Hotline

The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) Hotline is especially for victims of sexual assault and sexual violence. Their phone number is 1-800-601-7200, but calls are routed to the sexual assault crisis center closest to your location. The phone line is staffed 24/7 by experienced counselors and volunteers. This agency provides access to material assistance and referrals for safe shelter during COVID-19.

Women’s Referral Central Hotline

The Women’s Referral Central Hotline offers a full range of services to women who are victims of domestic violence. They provide shelter, childcare, housing assistance, clothing assistance, job training, and employment assistance. They also help women who are dealing with divorce, single parenting, and discrimination. Their 24/7 hotline number is 1-800-322-8092.

National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc. operates a resource and referral service for women in New Jersey. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, their website offers a list of shelters that are still open and accepting new residents who are victims of domestic violence. They also offer guidance for women who have tested positive for COVID-19 or whose abuser has tested positive.

Contact the Courthouse

If you’re already in the process of divorce, getting a restraining order, or attending to some other matter before the court, you need to find out whether or not the courthouse is continuing operations. If you miss a required appearance, you could find yourself in violation of the law. The judge could dismiss your case if you fail to show up as the petitioner. Contact the courthouse directly with your case number in order to learn whether or not cases are proceeding in person, if they are on hold, or if they are being conducted digitally through video calls. If you’re not sure of who to call at the courthouse, our family law attorney may be able to assist you.

New Jersey Office of the Attorney General

In addition to the legal counsel offered by our family law attorney, you may benefit from the information and resources provided by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Their office states that, while access to some resources and facilities has been limited because of COVID-19, victims, including those who are victims of domestic violence, can still access all state resources. Police stations are still issuing temporary restraining orders for domestic violence cases. The New Jersey Victims of Crimes Act pays for victims of domestic violence to access a family attorney if they can’t pay for one on their own.

The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence

The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence is sponsored in part by the state of New Jersey as well as other nonprofit organizations. Some of their programs are now offered on a remote basis, which will continue until the pandemic designation is removed for COVID-19, there is a vaccine, or there is a cure for the disease. Some services are still available in person but on a limited basis. The New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence has expanded its telephone operations in order to make up for the decrease in in-person services.

New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center

In New Jersey, victims of any crime can receive legal assistance, referrals, and resources through the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center. They offer resources related to emergency shelter, food, legal assistance, and more. Their email is info@njcrimevictims.org, and their office phone is (973) 512-3246. Their phones are staffed on weekdays during business hours.

Rutgers Domestic Violence Clinic

Residents of southern New Jersey can access free assistance and referrals through the Rutgers Domestic Violence Clinic. This office serves sexual assault and domestic violence victims in New Jersey. Specifically, they help victims get restraining orders while a divorce lawyer initiates additional proceedings. You can reach the Rutgers Domestic Violence Clinic at (856) 225-6568.

Rutgers Law Associates

Rutgers also operates a free legal clinic for domestic violence victims in Newark and Camden. Victims should be able to receive a call from a blocked number. This legal clinic can be reached at rutgerslawassociates.info@rutgers.edu. You can also call their Newark office at (973) 353-2564 or their Camden office at (856) 225-6088.

Medicaid

If you’re in need of medical care for your injuries from domestic violence or mental health care, Medicaid is another resource available to you. This is an income-based government health care program. If you qualify for Medicaid, you may also qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or cash assistance for food and housing.

Specific Tips for COVID-19 Safety

If you have to leave your residence because of domestic violence, keep COVID-19 prevention hygiene in mind. Wear a mask and practice social distancing. If possible, stay in the home of a friend or family member or in a hotel. Tell a trusted friend or family member what your emergency plan is if you need to leave your abusive domestic partner. Keep your vehicle fueled and serviced in case you need to leave in a hurry. Your vehicle may be an option if no shelter beds are open. Get yourself on a waiting list for several shelters. Practice good hand washing, or use hand sanitizer. Avoid going in crowded or public places whenever possible.

Your Divorce Lawyer

Don’t forget about the divorce lawyers at Lawrence Law can be a good resource for help in New Jersey when you’re dealing with domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or your abuser has been infected or exposed to COVID-19, our divorce attorneys may be available for a phone consultation with you. Many matters can be handled by phone or video chat. If that’s not a safe option for you, many things can also be handled by mail. As your family lawyer, we can help you if you need to reschedule a court appearance because of your illness or exposure. We also offer consultations related to situations such as your abuser purposely infecting you or not permitting you to get tested or treated for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays, holds, and changes in court proceedings as well as the ability to enter a shelter and access other victim services. If you need legal help with a restraining order, access to your bank account, or a safe place to live, our family lawyers in Watchung, NJ, offers legal consultations for domestic violence victims. To schedule an appointment with one of our family law attorneys, call us at (908) 645-1000, email us at info@lawlawfirm.com or review our website at Lawrence Law today.

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