NJ domestic violence committee discusses goals
In February, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner formed a committee to examine issues related to domestic violence cases in the New Jersey court system. Members of the panel gathered Monday for a meet-and-greet and to talk about what they hoped to accomplish.
"The intent of the committee is to look at the current structure of the courts and law enforcement in terms of domestic violence and then to look at areas where we can make improvement, where there might be some really great programs and that we have consistency across the state," said Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-Summit), one of the four legislators appointed to the committee.
Along with Munoz, state Sen. Diane Allen (R-Cinnaminson), Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Mount Laurel) and state Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), the committee is comprised of prosecutors, attorneys and other experts in the field of domestic violence.
"We'll look at what is being done well and what can be done better," Munoz said.
As a nurse, Munoz thinks members of her profession would add a helpful perspective to the discussion. She also planned a separate roundtable on domestic violence that would include nurses.
"Nurses are at the front lines of domestic violence because they see patients when they enter the emergency room. They see people who come to them with children who may be victims," Munoz said.
According to the state statistics, in 2011 there were 70,311 reported incidents of domestic violence in New Jersey. Forty resulted in the murder of the victim. Women accounted for 76 percent of the victims of domestic violence incidents.
In a press release statement the day he announced the formation of committee Rabner said:
"The committee will serve as a forum for stakeholders to conduct an in-depth review of our current domestic violence laws and policies, including the interaction of the Municipal and Superior Courts in domestic violence matters, the level and degree of domestic violence offenses, resources available to victims of domestic violence, and education and training opportunities available for all stakeholders. I welcome a report on the committee's findings and potential recommendations."