November 9, 2015

New Jersey Expands Access to Restraining Orders for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) applauds the passing of the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 (A4078/S2686), which will expand the availability of restraining orders to a greater number of sexual assault survivors.

Current New Jersey law prohibits approximately 80% of sexual assault survivors from applying for the protections afforded by restraining orders. “This legislation addresses that gap, and is a compliment to New Jersey’s portfolio of strong, survivor-centered laws and policies,” said Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director of NJCASA.

“The creation and passing of this legislation is a representation of Trenton at its best. This bill advanced thanks to the tenacious leadership of Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle, and Senators Beck and Pou, who worked with us to craft this legislation with the invaluable input of the Attorney General’s Office, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the expertise of sexual violence advocates from across the State. Today, Governor Christie made a bold statement by signing this legislation into law. It’s a tremendous day for survivors and advocates,” said Teffenhart.

Statistics indicate that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime, with 75-80% of those survivors knowing their perpetrators. As the national discourse around the impact and prevalence of sexual violence increases, so has the understanding of the needs of sexual assault survivors and the complex ways in which lives are impacted by this trauma.

With the passing of this legislation, New Jersey now joins over two dozen other states that offer similar protections for survivors. The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015 includes a six-month enactment clause, meaning expanded access to restraining orders will be available in May 2016.

ABOUT NJCASA: NJCASA ( is the statewide advocacy and capacity building organization that represents the twenty-one county-based rape crisis centers, and the Rutgers University Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance. NJCASA elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors and service providers by advocating for survivor-centered legislation, training allied professionals, and supporting statewide prevention strategies that work to address and defy the socio-cultural norms that permit and promote rape culture.

For additional information, contact Executive Director Patricia Teffenhart at