The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Domestic Violence Unit is responsible for prosecuting all indictable domestic violence crimes committed in Bergen County. The squad is also responsible for prosecuting all non-indictable contempt cases heard by the Superior Court - Family Division, as well as all weapons forfeiture matters that arise from domestic violence incidents. In addition, the squad 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. Additionally, the unit 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 currently consists of three attorneys who handle the caseload in the sections. 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. The chief and one other attorney in the unit handle indictable cases from inception through disposition, while the remaining assistant prosecutor is responsible for the non-indictable contempt cases and most of the weapons forfeiture matters. Members of 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 comprised of a sergeant, one detective, and one paralegal. They are responsible for preparing indictable matters, including jail cases, for Early Disposition court, Grand Jury presentation, and ultimately for trial. The Paralegal gathers all required information on the weapons forfeiture matters and non-indictable contempt cases for court. The detective and sergeant assigned to the unit are responsible for compiling reports and other information on the cases entailing police officer-involved acts of domestic violence.
A domestic violence counselor is assigned to the unit and facilitates immediate contact between the Prosecutor’s Office and the victims of domestic violence offenses. This immediate contact is crucial in domestic violence cases. Referrals can be made to obtain needed assistance for the victim. As a result, the victim may become more cooperative with law enforcement. In addition, the counselor 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.