The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Domestic Violence Unit is responsible for prosecuting all indictable domestic violence crimes committed in Bergen County. The unit is also responsible for prosecuting all non-indictable contempt cases heard by the Superior Court - Family Division. In addition, the unit handles all allegations of willful non-support as referred by the Bergen County Probation Department Child Support Enforcement Unit, as well as matters alleging interference with custody. The unit also oversees the investigation of all police officer-involved acts of domestic violence, and is ultimately responsible for advising the Prosecutor concerning the rearming process for these individuals. Additionally, the unit handles all non-financial Elder Abuse cases.
The domestic violence legal staff consists of attorneys who handle the caseload in the unit. One assistant prosecutor is designated as the chief and is responsible for the overall supervision and administration of the squad, as well as police training in the area of domestic violence law, and handling cases of police officer-involved acts of domestic violence. Members of the unit handle indictable cases from inception through disposition, as well as non-indictable contempt cases. The legal staff of the unit are available 24 hours a day to provide legal advice regarding domestic violence to the 72 law enforcement agencies in Bergen County.
The investigative staff is responsible for preparing indictable matters, including jail cases, for detention hearings, Early Disposition Court, Grand Jury presentation, and ultimately for trial. A paralegal gathers all required information on the non-indictable contempt cases for court.
A domestic violence counsellor is assigned to the unit and facilitates immediate contact between the Prosecutor’s Office and the victims of domestic violence offenses. That immediate contact is crucial in domestic violence cases. Referrals can be made to obtain needed assistance for the victim, including financial assistance, assistance with housing, and counselling services. In addition, the counsellor provides support for the victims/witnesses during the Grand Jury and court proceedings and can answer questions when victims call to find out the status of their case or to inquire about available services.
Together with the local police, the domestic violence unit strives to prosecute domestic violence offenders and provide support services to the victims.