Pass the bill, sign the bill, protect domestic violence victims
Every nine seconds in the United States a woman is beaten or assaulted, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Some of these women, such as Lisa Zindell of Toms River, don’t survive the assault. Yet, New Jersey is still dragging its feet when it comes to protecting victims of domestic violence.
Zindell had a restraining order against her ex-fiance in 2009. He was arrested when he violated the restraining order. Then he was released. Then he killed her.
A law named after Zindell, Lisa’s Law, twice has passed the Assembly and Senate. Unanimously, at that.
The law would establish a pilot program that would use electronic monitoring to alert victims and police if the abuser is in the vicinity of his victim.
Yet, twice, Gov. Christie has vetoed the legislation. He doesn’t trust the technology.
Maybe the governor is right, but we won’t know until we test the system. What we do know is restraining orders by themselves too often have no effect, and women are being murdered — 49 in 2015, according to the State Police.
Think about it: When a woman is abused, our way of protecting her is to hand a violent man a piece of paper that advises him to behave himself and stay away from her. Then we tell her to keep her eyes and ears open because she’s the one who has to call the cops if he ignores the piece of paper and shows up. Assuming, of course, she sees him before he sees her, she’s not asleep when he drops by, etc.
Lisa’s Law might not be perfect. The courts have to decide which abusers have to be monitored. The technology has to be tested. Safeguards have to be built in to ensure the process isn’t abused. Over time, and before being implemented statewide, the law and system might have to be re-examined.
But New Jersey has to try something different than what it is doing now. Too many women are living in fear. Too many are getting hurt. Too many are getting killed.
The Assembly and Senate should pass the measure — again — and Christie should sign the bill.