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Legal Information: New Jersey

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of January 8, 2024

What are the legal definitions of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, stalking, and cyber-harassment?

To qualify for a sexual assault restraining order, you must be the victim of actual or attempted nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, stalking, or cyber-harassment by someone who is not a current or former intimate partner. These terms are defined as follows:

  • Sexual contact is an intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of your or the abuser’s sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttock or breast for the purpose of degrading or humiliating you or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the abuser.
  • Sexual penetration is vaginal intercourse, oral sex (cunnilingus or fellatio), or anal intercourse between you and the abuser or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the abuser or due to the abuser’s instruction.
  • Lewdness means exposing one’s genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the abuser or of any other person.
  • Stalking means committing acts that cause you to be reasonably afraid for your safety or the safety of others, or cause you significant mental suffering or distress, including:

o    staying close to you, either physically or visually, two or more times;
o    following, monitoring, watching, threatening, or communicating to you or about you either directly or indirectly by any method;
o    interfering with your property;
o    harassing you two or more times; or
o    threatening you two or more times, either directly or indirectly, in writing or verbally or by any other method.

  • Cyber-harassment means behavior in online communications through any electronic device or a social networking with the intent to harass you, including:

o    threatening injury or physical harm to you or your property;
o    sending, posting, commenting, requesting, suggesting, or proposing any lewd, indecent, or obscene material to you or about you with the intent of emotionally harming you or placing you in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm; or
o    threatening to commit any crime against you or your property.1

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(a)(1)