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Focus on DOJ’s revised stance toward domestic violence

Law professor and domestic abuse victims’ advocate Natalie Nanasi recently penned an article for a national publication noting material variance in the definition of “domestic violence” between successive presidential administrations.

She writes that the Obama presidency viewed violence in the family context as “expansive,” noting its “dynamics of power and control” and its broad-based elements of emotional, psychological and emotional abuse.

Conversely, she says, the U.S. Department of Justice has done an abrupt about-face under the Trump administration. It recently crafted a far narrower definition that largely confines violence to misdemeanor and felony crimes. Anything short of that is, well, something else.

Nanasi and like thinkers regard that update as both unwise and unwelcome. Many victims’ advocates believe that essentially ignoring behavior not formally categorized as a crime creates sizable loopholes for abusers to exploit.

Nanasi writes that manipulative behaviors not legally construed as unlawful still inflict tremendous harms on legions of abuse victims daily across the United States. They “can cause greater and more lasting damage than physical harm,” Nanasi stresses.

That is seemingly well understood in New Jersey, and something we impliedly note on a domestic violence website page at The Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh referencing relevant state statutory law.

We refer therein to New Jersey’s 19 stated acts of domestic abuse, which are revealing in their type and scope. They include unquestioned acts of criminal behavior such as homicide, robbery, sexual assault and kidnapping, but they also reference multiple behaviors that were explicitly recognized by the Obama-era DOJ and are now deemphasized.

Those include conduct that might not be charged in some instances, including harassing activity, verbal threats, lewdness, stalking and more.

Domestic violence spells highly emotive subject matter that can explode in an instant. We counsel victims experiencing abuse to seek law enforcement help without delay, with proven legal counsel often also being able to play a key role.

We welcome contacts to the firm from individuals seeking to discuss sensitive subject matter in a candid and private manner. We focus unwaveringly on diligent legal representation that fully promotes our valued clients’ best interests.



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