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Hurricane wrecks homes but also relationships, reputations in NJ

Months have passed since Hurricane Sandy swept up devastation throughout various states, including New Jersey. Now, reports about domestic violence suggest that more damage was done by the superstorm than the damage to people's homes, businesses, etc.

Some who work for New Jersey shelters report that more women complained about incidents of domestic abuse after the storm hit. Why would the storm impact the rate of domestic violence? A shelter director has a theory.

She suggests that the stress that the natural disaster left in its wake increased tension within families. Stress can be a significant contributor to the likelihood of abuse. The damage or loss of a family's home and the loss of work that occurred for some in New Jersey because of the storm are great stressors.

Another theory is that more couples who split due to anger issues and/or domestic violence came together because one or the other needs a place to live. An already volatile relationship can become more volatile when weeks of storm-induced darkness and chaos are added to it.

High stress and intense emotions can lead to incidents of violence, but they can also lead to false abuse claims. Whether a domestic violence allegation stems from a supposed incident after a natural disaster or from a mere average day, suspects need to stand up for their rights.

Our Bergen County domestic violence defense lawyers know what is at stake when someone is accused of abuse. Often, a restraining order will come into play, which carries severe and immediate consequences for a suspect. He could be kept from his home and from his children. Such limits should only be enacted based on the system having respected the rights of a suspect and the criminal law process.

Source: New Jersey 101.5, "Sandy Linked To Increased Domestic Violence," Dino Flammia, March 15, 2013

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