Cyber-Harassment and Domestic Violence: What You Need to Know
Let’s say you meet a guy and you really, really like him. He treats you like a princess and buys you little gifts. He’s always texting you and checking up on you. It’s swell.
But soon, things start to go awry. He’s constantly calling and checking up on you. When you want to hang out with your friends, he starts acting strange and asks if other guys will be there. He’s always belittling you and making you feel small. Finally, you’ve had enough and break up with him. That’s when the online harassment begins. He sends you threatening emails. There are nasty comments on your social media posts. He begins posting lewd photos of you everywhere.
You’re trapped and forced to shut down your social media accounts. You’re afraid to open up your web browser to see what’s on there. You want it to end and now.
Now here’s the question — is this a case of domestic violence? If so, how?
Cyber-Harassment Laws In New Jersey
Signed into law in 2016, cyber-harassment became the 19th crime listed under the Domestic Violence Statutes. According to the statute, cyber-harassment occurs when an individual does the following through a social networking site or any online capacity:
- Threatens to inflict physical injury or harm to another individual or his/her property
- Knowingly sends posts, comments, requests, suggests or proposes any lewd, indecent or obscene material in an attempt to harm the individual
- Threatens to commit a crime against an individual or their property
Cyber-harassment is considered a fourth-degree crime with a punishment of up to 30 days in jail.
But when is it a domestic violence case?
Cyber-Harassment and Domestic Violence
Not all domestic violence involves physical abuse, as we’ve mentioned in previous blogs. Sometimes, it’s just the mere mention of physical harm via an email, a text, or a comment on a social media post that causes you to feel unsafe.
Online harassment is much more than just being teased online. It’s repeated illegal behavior that is designed to humiliate and control. Examples include hacking into your social media accounts and impersonating you online, spreading rumors, and sharing lewd photos and videos without consent.
In order for cyber-harassment to be considered an act of domestic violence, you will need to show not only the incident had caused you harm and created intimidation and fear, but you need to show that you have or had an intimate relationship with the attacker.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or of cyber-harassment, there are remedies available, such as:
- Applying for a protection from abuse order against your abuser
- Filing a civil lawsuit against the abuser to recover from losses and expenses such as medical bills or pain and suffering
- If you were married with children, you can also file child custody and spousal support orders
Domestic Violence Attorney Anthony Carbone Can Help
For almost 30 years, Jersey City domestic violence attorney Anthony Carbone has been helping hundreds of clients with their personal injury, family law, and criminal defense issues. It’s always best to speak with an experienced attorney to know your next moves. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.