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Cumberland provides cameras for domestic violence cases

Domestic violence is one of the most difficult crimes to deal with effectively. There are many reasons why victims may be unwilling to give evidence, including fear of the perpetrators and mistrust of law enforcement agencies. These cases also often involve measuring one party's word against the other. Physical evidence, including photographs, can be very valuable in a domestic violence case.

Last week, the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office announced that it had issued 25 digital cameras to police forces in Bridgeton, Millville and Vineland, in addition to State Police units that patrol the county. The county prosecutor explained that the cameras are intended mainly for gathering evidence in spousal abuse cases. Photos of recent bruises or damaged property can be very valuable in corroborating the statements of victims or witnesses.

Recent statistics show a 7 percent increase in domestic violence from 2009 to 2010 in Cumberland County compared to a 1 percent increase for New Jersey as a whole. Of the 3,381 cases in 2010, 1,702 involved physical abuse and 1,662 involved harassment.

Many of the most difficult cases occur among the Hispanic community, according to the county prosecutor. The community makes up 28 percent of Cumberland County's population. The prosecutor explained that although her office does not consider immigration status when dealing with domestic problems, many Hispanics are still reluctant to work with law enforcement for fear of deportation.

Anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence should know that they have options for getting out of a bad situation. Whether through a restraining order or criminal charges, it is possible to keep an abuser away. Seeking legal advice may be beneficial.

Source: Press of Atlantic City, "Prosecutor gives Cumberland law enforcement cameras to help document domestic abuse," Thomas Barlas, Jan. 16, 2013

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