WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: New Jersey

Restraining Orders

View all
Laws current as of January 8, 2024

Who can get a sexual assault restraining order?

You can file for a sexual assault restraining order if a person committed or attempted to commit an act of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, stalking, or cyber-harassment against you and you do not have an intimate relationship with the offender.  If the abuser is a former or current intimate partner, then you would file for a domestic violence restraining order instead. To file for a sexual assault restraining order, you do not need to have any specific relationship with the abuser; s/he can be a stranger, a co-worker, an acquaintance, etc.1  

A parent or guardian can file for a sexual assault restraining order on the victim’s behalf if the victim is:

  • a minor
  • an adult with a developmental disability; or
  • an adult with a mental condition that means s/he cannot understand the nature of his/her own actions.2 

However, if the abuser is a minor and unemancipated, you would instead file a complaint under a proceeding that deals with juvenile delinquency - see section 2A:4A-30 on our Selected NJ Statutes page to read the law.3 

If the abuser is the parent, guardian, or other person having custody and control over the minor victim, the law requires that you instead report the abuse to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families for investigation and possible legal action.4

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(a)(1)
2 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(a)(2)
3 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(b)(1)
4 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(b)(2)

Can I file for a sexual assault restraining order if I am a minor?

You can file for a sexual assault restraining order if a person 18 or over committed or attempted to commit an act of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, stalking, or cyber-harassment against you and you do not qualify for a domestic violence restraining order.

A parent or guardian can file for a sexual assault restraining order on your behalf if you are a minor.2 If the person abusing you is your parent, guardian, or another person having custody and control over you, however, the law requires that you or someone you know instead report the abuse to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families for investigation and possible legal action.3

If the person abusing you is a also minor and unemancipated, you would instead file a complaint under a proceeding that deals with juvenile delinquency - see section 2A:4A-30 on our Selected NJ Statutes page to read the law.4 

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(a)(1)
2 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(a)(2)
3 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(b)(2)
4 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(b)(1)

Can I file against a minor?

If the person committing or attempting to commit an act of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, lewdness, stalking, or cyber-harassment against you is an unemancipated minor, you are required by the law to file a complaint under a proceeding that deals with juvenile delinquency - see section 2A:4A-30 on our Selected NJ Statutes page to read the law.1

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:14-14(b)(1)

What are the steps involved with getting a sexual assault restraining order?

The steps to get a sexual assault restraining order are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence restraining order, but you may fill out different paperwork.  If you have questions, you can call the clerk of court or talk to a lawyer.  You can find the contact information for local courthouses on the NJ Courthouse Locations page and for lawyers on the NJ Finding a Lawyer page.

What if the abuser violates the order?

If someone purposely or knowingly violates a sexual assault restraining order, s/he could be committing the crime of contempt and guilty of a “disorderly persons offense.”  If when violating the order, s/he also committed a crime or a disorderly persons offense, then s/he can be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.1  

You can call 911 immediately and the police may arrest the abuser.  If the police do not have sufficient facts to arrest the abuser, you can file a criminal complaint in municipal court.2

1 NJSA §§ 2C:14-18(a); 2C:29-9(d)
2 NJSA § 2C:14-18(b)