Tag: victims of physical domestic abuse

Guide to Understanding How Controlling Behavior is a Type of Domestic Abuse

Coercive behavior can become a repetitive action in a relationship that needs to be stopped as soon as possible. It also qualifies as a criminal act of domestic violence in NJ.

Is Coercion a Form of Domestic Violence?In intimate and family relationships, coercive control is considered a type of domestic abuse and pattern of behavior by which a perpetrator will use acts of intimidation, manipulation, threats, isolation, humiliation, and demands (among other things) to destroy a person’s sense of independence and self-worth. Although this use of power to gain control is often seen as an early predictor of future physical violence, even when it doesn’t escalate to violence, coercive control leaves emotional scars and psychological trauma, which negatively impacts the victim’s mental health and may cause PTSD or depression. A 2015 survey on Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey showed that American men and women will experience some form of coercive control by an intimate partner, at similar rates, during their lifetime.

Since 2015, criminal coercion has been considered one of the 19 criminal offenses listed under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) of 1991. As an invisible chain that comes in many guises, it perpetuates an ongoing cycle of controlling abuse whereby the victim may feel dependent on their abuser and unable to escape the toxic relationship they’re in.

If you or you suspect someone you care about is being coerced or intimidated to do something in their relationship they don’t want to do, it is essential to act immediately in domestic abuse cases. Even if you are someone facing alleged criminal coercion charges in New Jersey as a result of a restraining order or other alleged crimes that put you on the wrong side of a domestic violence protective order, you need skilled criminal and domestic violence defense lawyers on your side to help protect your constitutional rights.

The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC understands that domestic violence is a serious crime that can significantly impact the victim and any children who witness or experience the abuse and have a long-lasting effect on those convicted of these crimes.

With offices conveniently located in Brick and Sea Girt, NJ, our legal team serves clients in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, as well as in cities like Allenwood, Bayville, Beachwood, Brielle, Howell, Manasquan, Pine Beach, Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Spring Lake, and Toms River.

To better understand your rights and the restraining order process and take immediate action on your case, contact us online or call (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential case assessment.

How to Recognize the 7 Signs of Criminal Coercion in NJ Domestic Violence Cases

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:13-5, a person can be found guilty of criminal coercion or coercive control, if they purposefully and unlawfully restrict another’s freedom of action or force them to engage in an action, by means of threats to:

  • inflict injury on their person or that of another person
  • accuse another person of an offense
  • expose a damaging secret that would subject a person, their business, or credit to contempt, hatred, ridicule, or scorn
  • take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action
  • bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective action, except that such a threat shall not be deemed coercive when the restriction compelled is demanded in the course of negotiation for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor acts
  • testify or withhold information in a defense case or other legal matter
  • perform any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the person making the threat, but which is calculated to substantially harm another person’s relationships, health, safety, business, career, financial standing, or reputation.

Typical Examples of Coercive Control & Emotional Abuse in Domestic Violence Cases

Emotional or psychological abuse is just as damaging to survivors, even though they are often harder to detect. Typical examples of coercive control are:

  • Coercive Control & Emotional Abuse Attorneys in Monmouth Countyisolation from one’s family or support system
  • monitoring one’s activities via electronic recoding devices, their social media usage, or phone calls
  • denying autonomy or restricting one’s freedom (i.e., taking their phone, limiting or denying access to transport, travel to school or work, or changing passwords)
  • gaslighting
  • constant criticism, name-calling, or verbal abuse designed to erode self-confidence
  • exerting control over finances and limiting access to money
  • parental alienation
  • controlling aspects of one’s personal health or hygiene, possibly even restricting their access to medical care
  • threatening children or pets
  • regulating their sexual relationship
  • blackmailing or threatening to expose intimate personal information or sexual details
  • manipulation in relation to clothing, lifestyle choices, or where a person might be at a given time

If you are concerned about coercive control in your relationship or someone you care about, don’t be afraid to seek help in the form of someone you trust or by calling the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233) to access information, services, crisis intervention, as well as referral and advocacy options.

What Role Does Criminal Coercion Play in Obtaining a NJ Restraining Order?

As a form of domestic violence and threatening behavior, criminal coercion is a “predicate act” or grounds for filing a temporary or final restraining order. Because this type of behavior is often what prevents someone from filing for an order of protection, escaping a dangerous environment, or fearing for their safety or that of others, it is essential to find experienced legal counsel who can guide one through the process of protecting themselves and their vulnerable loved ones.

To obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO), the person requesting protection must prove three elements:

  • a predicate act of domestic violence occurred (one of the 19 PDVA criminal offenses),
  • a prior history of domestic violence, and
  • that the restraining order is essential in protecting their immediate safety and well-being.

A final restraining order (FRO) usually takes place a week or two after a TRO is granted to determine the truth or veracity of the initial complaint and if there is a continued need for protection. If granted, a FRO could impact and restrict where a person who is served lives, works, their child custody, and future job and educational opportunities, among others things.

If you are involved in a domestic dispute, defend your rights and contact our office today.

What Three Elements Are Necessary for a NJ Prosecutor to Prove Criminal Coercion

To prove a person is guilty of criminal coercion, a prosecutor must prove that the alleged person’s:

  • conduct fell under one of the 7 prohibited threat categories or signs for criminal coercion
  • the goal, intent, or purpose was to restrict the freedom of another or prevent them from acting or refraining from acting in a certain way
  • purpose or goal was unlawful.

What Are The Penalties for Criminal Coercion Offenses in New Jersey?

Each case is unique, but depending on the severity of the underlying charges, a domestic violence offense may be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. Criminal Coercion is typically classified as a fourth-degree crime, and if found guilty of this charge, you may receive:

  • up to 18 months in prison and
  • a maximum fine of up to $10,000.

However, if the alleged person’s goal is criminal, the crime is considered third degree.  Persons convicted of a third-degree criminal coercion charge face:

  • 3-5 years of imprisonment and
  • up to $15,000 in fines.

Convictions for second-degree and first-degree criminal coercion can result in 5-10 years and up to 20 years, respectively.

Penalties may also be monetary, the convicted person may be required to attend anger management classes, and there is also the possibility of probation. In addition and in accordance with federal law, both misdemeanor and felony domestic violence convictions can prohibit an individual from purchasing firearms.

Why It’s Crucial to Have An Experienced NJ Lawyer for Your Criminal Coercion Case

Criminal Coercion & Domestic Violence Attorney in New JerseyRegardless if you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant, the thought of appearing and possibly testifying in court can seem overwhelming, but knowing you have a knowledgeable attorney by your side advocating for your well-being and safety and that of any children in your relationship, can bring you peace of mind in and of itself.

Skilled domestic violence attorneys are an invaluable resource to have, as they can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, guide you through the protection order documentation filing process, protect your constitutional rights, and leverage years of their own experience to reduce much of the burden you may go through in cases likes these.

Contact a Brick, New Jersey Criminal Coercion & Domestic Violence Attorney Today

In domestic violence cases, it is critical to take action as soon as possible. Despite the current pandemic and unprecedented backlog of cases, domestic abuse cases are prioritized in New Jersey and expedited through the court.

If you live in towns such as Brielle, Rumson, Morganville, Manasquan, and Toms River, and want to discuss your unique family situation with an empathetic and experienced domestic violence attorney, contact The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC today online or by calling (732) 812-3102 to schedule a free and confidential case assessment.

Domestic Violence During Quarantine Attorney Brick and Sea Girt NJ

Living under the same roof as an abuser can be mentally, physically, emotionally exhausting, which can lead to dangerous situations.

Domestic Violence During Quarantine Attorney Brick and Sea Girt NJWhether the abuse causes physical harm to the victim or is less overt, as, in the case of gaslighting and emotional manipulation, the sense of disempowerment and fear that it seeds in the recipient is traumatizing, taking steps to leave an abusive home is a courageous and also often dangerous process, as doubts around personal safety, financial security, and the wellbeing of your children arise to be considered.

Domestic violence is a more pervasive peril than one might think. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that nearly half of all men and women have experienced psychological aggression by their partner during their lifetime, and 29 percent of women and 10 percent of men have been victims of physical domestic abuse by their partner.

Steps to take when facing Domestic Violence During Quarantine

Getting out of a dangerous domestic abuse situation is imperative, though not easy. It causes stress, worry, and physical risk to even the most methodical person. In order to exit a dangerous relationship, make sure that you have considered and planned all aspects of the move strategically. Whether or not the threat of physical violence is present, plan your exit as though it is a separation to be carried out with the utmost care and protective secrecy.

Use the following considerations and resources to help you strategize the ins and outs of your transition out of an abusive home. Make sure that you have a plan and that during the development of your exit strategy, you take necessary measures to ensure that your abusive partner does not learn of the move. Even partners that have not been physically violent may turn to physical measures, attempting to force you to stay if they learn you are hiding the intent to empower yourself by leaving. Others may use emotional and mental manipulation tactics to threaten or convince you to stay.Steps to take when facing Domestic Violence During Quarantine

  • Formulate an Exit Plan with a Domestic Violence Hotline Counselor – Contacting a Domestic Violence Hotline is the first step.
  • New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline: 24/7

1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233)


Their counselors are trained to inform you about what domestic violence is and how to safely and strategically exit an abusive situation. This strategy includes step-by-step actions to take, documents to gather, and allies with whom to be in contact before, during, and after the move. Domestic violence hotline counselors can provide you with the following information, among other resources:

  • How to prepare your finances
  • What to put in your travel bag
  • Necessary documentation for you and your kids
  • What numbers to have ready to dial in your cell phone
  • Who to be in contact with during the process, and how to safely let them know your plans
  • Where to go directly following your exit

Document abuse to Protect Your Rights

Document abuse Carefully and completely, keep track of the date and form of abuse experienced. As it relates to physical abuse, take pictures to record injury. When the abuse is verbal, do your best to document quotes or even record. Keep this documentation in your hidden travel bag.
Only document – in pictures, for example – on devices that your partner cannot find and do not document if there is any possibility of your being caught. Do not put yourself at risk of discovery to get this evidence. This information would simply be used to build a case against your abuser, and it is not worth risking your physical safety to obtain it.

Have a Plan and Make sure your children are ready

Do not tell your children outright that you are planning for you all to leave the house. It is neither safe nor responsible to burden your children with this kind of a secret. Instead, make sure they are ready for an emergency by practicing their full name and address if they are young, and ensuring that children of all ages know what to do in the case of an emergency – where to go, who to call. Privately review emergency procedures with them.

Take the First Step and File a Temporary Restraining Order with a Brick Or Sea Girt Attorney Today

Carefully, contact a family law attorney to file a restraining order in order to protect the safety and privacy rights of your family after the move.

At Peter J. Bronzino Law Firm, our team of family law attorneys are skilled in serving our clients in Brick, Spring Lake, Asbury Park, and all of Eastern New Jersey. in all domestic abuse matters.

To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced member of our firm today regarding your transition out of an abusive home, please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.