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Legal Information: New Jersey

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
July 14, 2020

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 or lewdness 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  

If the victim is under the age of 18 or has a developmental disability, a parent or guardian can file for a sexual assault restraining order on the victim’s behalf.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 NJ Statutes page to read the law.  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.  You may then petition in the Superior Court for a protective order on behalf of the applicant and the (unemancipated) minor victim as part of the legal proceedings related to child abuse and neglect.3

1 See NJSA § 2C:14-14(a)(1)
2 NJSA § 2C:14-14(a)(2)(a),(b)
3 NJSA § 2C:14-14(b)

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)