Dancer drafts measure expanding pension forfeiture law to include domestic violence convictions

Dancer drafts measure expanding pension forfeiture law to include domestic violence convictions

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, Assemblyman Ron Dancer announced he plans to introduce a measure that would expand the current pension forfeiture law for public employees and officials to include crimes involving domestic violence, regardless of whether it involves or touches upon their public position or employment.

“Those who are convicted of acts of domestic violence do not deserve taxpayer-funded pensions and retirement benefits,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “Most of these heinous crimes happen behind closed doors and I refuse to turn a blind eye when they are brought to light.”

New Jersey’s pension forfeiture law currently applies to public employees found guilty of offenses like extortion, bribery and perjury, if the crimes are connected to their job. In July, the governor signed a bill that added sexual assault, harassment and lewdness to the list of crimes that can cost employees their pensions.

“Although domestic violence typically happens at home and not work, it certainly affects taxpayers, their trust and values,” said Dancer. “These perpetrators assert whatever power they have to abuse their partner. This would strip them of some of that power and ensure they never benefit on the backs of taxpayers.”

Dancer’s bill would apply to those convicted of criminal offenses, like assault and stalking, against a person protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.

There were more than 63,000 reports of domestic violence in New Jersey in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. That is a 3 percent increase over the previous year. Domestic violence directly affects approximately one out of four women and one out of seven men.

In 1989, Congress designated October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to mourn victims, celebrate survivors and support those working to end the violence. Organizations across the state, like the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence, will spend this month promoting awareness and prevention.