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For immediate release: November 6, 2008
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Judiciary Expands Domestic Violence Victims Protection

Law enforcement personnel nationwide will be able to access information on final restraining orders (FROs) issued in New Jersey, today announced Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts.

"An FRO is an important protection for domestic violence victims," said Judge Grant. "Ten years ago, we began a project to ensure that all FROs were accessible through our statewide Domestic Violence Central Registry. Today, we are proud to offer this added layer of protection for domestic violence victims who have left the state, either temporarily or permanently."

The courts worked jointly with the New Jersey State Police, Criminal Justice Information Unit, in the Department of Law and Public Safety to enable the transmission of FROs into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. The project was made possible through a Federal National Criminal History Improvement Program grant. The AOC will enter 150,000 FROs issued by family courts in New Jersey into the national protection order file.

The national protection order file exists to help authorized criminal justice agencies apprehend fugitives, locate missing persons, locate and return stolen property, and protect law enforcement officers who encounter those individuals listed in the system.

Once entered into the database, the FROs will be accessible to law enforcement agencies nationwide. Whether confronted by a victim in need of protection, or by a defendant who has pursued or threatened the victim outside the state of New Jersey, law enforcement officers will have the information needed to act swiftly to ensure the victim's safety. Furthermore, individuals attempting to purchase a firearm any where in the country will be identified and denied the purchase as a result of the FRO in the protection order file.

While final restraining orders issued in New Jersey never expire, that is not true of final restraining orders issued by some states. Through this project, domestic violence victims who travel or move to another state have the added assurance that the FRO issued in New Jersey will remain permanently in effect and enforceable nationwide.

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