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Domestic Violence During COVID-19

By Sarah Jacobs, Esq.

Domestic Violence Incidents on the rise During  COVID-19 Quarantine Morris County NJ

Protecting Clients and Their families in Morristown, Parsippany, Mendham, Florham Park, and across Central Northern NJ

Domestic Violence Incidents on the rise During  COVID-19 Quarantine Morris County NJThe lines between argument and abuse are thin. There are many reasons that partners stay in a relationship with someone who is emotionally or physically abusive, and not considering a repeated action abusive is certainly one of them. As we move into a new era on the planet due to the pandemic COVID-19, many couples who are under stay-at-home orders are facing stressors of cohabitation that they had not previously faced, and as such are either venturing into the territory of aggression or experiencing an escalation of already aggressive behavior. So what technically constitutes domestic violence in New Jersey? Read on to learn more.

One recent celebrity case of domestic violence brought a collective misunderstanding to the forefront: when lightweight boxer Gervonta Davis was filmed forcibly grabbing his ex-partner by the neck to lift her to standing, he was charged with domestic violence for the offense. His defense, however, revealed a common misconception about what domestic violence is. In a social media post, he wrote “I never once hit her. Yea I was aggressive and told her to come on…. That’s the mother of my child. I would never hurt her.”

Davis’s expression that no punches were thrown reflects a collective misunderstanding, one that keeps domestic violence cases continuing unreported: that aggressive action is only considered domestic violence if one party punches the other. This is incorrect.

What constitutes domestic violence in New Jersey?

According to the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, there are 19 specific actions that constitute domestic violence. Each carries its own criminal domestic violence charge and consequences. Those 19 chargeable actions of domestic violence include:


  • The “assault” charge is where there are numerous confusions regarding what is domestic violence and what is not. According to the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, “assault” means the infliction of any harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person, or even the threat or attempt to do so. As you can see, this casts a wide net of chargeable offenses of domestic assault.

Criminal Restraint

  • This is the physical detainment of a person against their will.


  • Stalking has expanded in its forms with the technological age. It can include unwanted physical proximity at home or work or repeated messages or calls of any form, yet it also includes unwanted online presence and contact to your various accounts.

Sexual Assault

  • In addition to carrying its own charge, sexual assault can carry a domestic violence charge.

What constitutes domestic violence in New Jersey?Criminal Sexual Contact

  • Similar to a sexual assault charge, criminal sexual contact is any touching of a person’s body in a forced and uninvited way.


  • Harassment is communication that is sent repeatedly, anonymously, or at inconvenient times that is intended to cause stress or fear.

Cyber Harassment

  • J.S.A §2C:33-4 calls cyber harassment the type of harassment that occurs electronically, using a social media site to cause harm to or threaten one’s character or cause emotional or even physical harm. This could include the posting of lewd photos, documents, or publications.


  • This is the sharing or showing of private parts or actions without consent.


  • The threat to cause physical harm can be considered an act of domestic violence, even if that act is not carried out.


  • In addition to being a charge on its own, it can carry a domestic violence charge.

False imprisonment

  • Similar to criminal restraint, this often subtle detainment of a person in a prescribed area without legal reason is called false imprisonment. Gaslighting can be used to carry out this chargeable offense.


  • Robbery is the taking of something from another person using force or fear.


  • This differs from robbery in that it is the illegal entry into someone’s property with the intent of committing a crime.

Criminal Mischief

  • This is damaging someone’s property.

Contempt of a Restraining Order

  • It is considered domestic violence to disobey a restraining order to approach a partner or ex.


  • In addition to carrying other charges, the murder of a partner or ex-partner can carry a domestic violence charge.

Crimes Involving Risk of death or serious injury to anyone protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 carry domestic violence charges.

Identify Domestic Violence and Contact our Skilled Legal Team Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients in Morris County communities including Madison, Morristown, Randolph, Denville, Rockaway, East Hanover, Florham Park, Dover, and across all of Northern New Jersey in all matters of domestic violence.

Our direct approach is intentionally designed to ensure that our clients receive the support and safety they need while we facilitate the legal process of bringing charges against an abuser.

To meet with an experienced member of our firm today regarding your case, please contact us online or call our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366 today for a strategic planning session.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.