Legal Options for Teen Victims of Sexual Violence:
The New Jersey Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act
What is the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act?
The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA) was enacted into law in May 2016 within the state of New Jersey. The Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA) provides victims of sexual violence with the ability to apply for a protective order against their perpetrator within Family Court. Victims of sexual violence are not required to move forward in pressing criminal charges against their perpetrator in order to receive a protective order under SASPA.
What can a protective order do for my teen? A protective order is a legal document issued by the court that legally forbids the following behavior by a perpetrator to the victim:
- acts of contact (in-person, telephonic, or through a third party)
- acts of seeing the perpetrator (ex: preventing perpetrator from entering home, place of employment, or school)
- acts of sexual violence
- additional relief assigned by the court
Is my teen eligible for a protective order?
Eligibility requirements for those who can file a protective order under SASPA include:
- anyone who is a victim of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness or any attempt at such conduct
- anyone who is a victim of the above victimizations and is not eligible for a restraining order as a victim of domestic violence (ex: your teen does not have a domestic or dating relationship to the perpetrator)
- anyone who is a victim of the above victimizations and the perpetrator is at least 18 years old
How does my teen file for a protective order?
A temporary protective order application under SASPA can be filed by the victim’s parent or legal guardian on behalf of the victim in any case where the victim is under the age of 18 years old. Temporary protective orders can only be filed in the Family Division of the Superior Court during court hours.
How can 180 help my teen who has experienced sexual violence?
- Sexual Violence Court Advocate for assistance in filing a SASPA protective order within and accompaniment to all court proceedings within the Superior Court
- Sexual Violence Counseling for survivors ages 12 & older
- Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) for direct supportive services and accompaniment to survivors at hospitals and police stations for survivors ages 13 & older
- 24 Hour Confidential Sexual Violence Hotline: (888) 264-7273
- 2ND FLOOR Youth Call and Text Helpline: (888) 222-2288
Note: Information was adapted from New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (2017). For more information, visit: https://njcasa.org/saspa/