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Domestic Violence Hotline
1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
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1.866.331.9474 / Text: LOVEIS (77054)
Homicide/Major Crimes Tip Line
Essex County Family Justice Center
Essex County Child Advocacy Center:
Wynona’s House
Essex County Rape Crisis Center:
Family Service League
1.877.733.CARE (2273)
N.J. Coalition Against Human Trafficking
c/o Jewish Federation of Greater
Metro West of New Jersey


1.888.373.7888 (24-Hour Hotline)
Text: "BeFree" or 233733



Essex County Prosecutor’s
Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
1.973.621.4700 (

Information by Crime

Child Abuse
Domestic Violence
Financial Crimes
Gang Violence
Hate Crimes
Juvenile Crimes
Property Crimes
Sexual Assault


Any crime committed by someone under the age of 18 is considered an act of juvenile delinquency. When the juvenile courts were first established in New Jersey in 1929, their primary goal was to rehabilitate wayward juveniles. Over the years, juvenile courts have broadened their focus to include holding juvenile offenders accountable for their actions and protecting public safety. Juvenile delinquency cases are heard in the Family Division of the Superior Court. As a victim of a juvenile offender, you are afforded rights and services similar to those of victims of adult offenders and will be assigned a Victim-Witness advocate to answer your questions and help you to navigate the juvenile justice process. The services provided are:
  • Crisis intervention
  • Referrals to social services
  • Criminal justice orientation
  • Case status and disposition information
  • Transportation assistance
  • Child care assistance
  • Assistance with completing the victim impact statement
  • Personal advocacy
  • Offender HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis C testing/status information
  • Assistance with applying for compensation through the Victims of Crime Compensation Office
  • Assistance with filing for restitution
  • Property return assistance
  • Court accompaniment
  • Employer, school, landlord, and creditor intercession services
  • Separate and secure waiting area
  • Document replacement
  • Assistance with gathering information on an inmate’s release from custody
Your Case as it Moves through the Juvenile Justice Process:

When a juvenile is apprehended for a crime he commits, the police officers who arrive at the scene have several options available to address the delinquent behavior:

Police can use curbside adjustment for non-serious juvenile activity that doesn't require arresting the juvenile or filing a juvenile delinquency complaint.
Police can use stationhouse adjustment for minor juvenile activity. The juvenile is given a stiff warning by the responding officer. The parents/guardians of the juvenile are also called.
Police can also arrest the juvenile for indictable crimes and file a juvenile delinquency complaint against the juvenile.

If the juvenile is arrested for his/her criminal behavior, the juvenile complaint is initiated. The police officer will call the Essex County Juvenile Probation Intake Unit who will determine under which detention alternative program the juvenile will be subject because the juvenile has no right to bail:

Release to Parent
Electronic Monitoring
Electronic Monitoring with Evening Reporting
Remand to Detention

Once the juvenile delinquency complaint has been filed, the complaint and other supporting documentation are sent to the Juvenile Services Unit where the complaint is recorded and screened. A master probation officer assigned to the Unit, in consultation with an assistant prosecutor and a judge, will determine the status of the complaint. If the juvenile is accused of committing a serious crime, such as homicide, aggravated assault, or possession of a weapon, the matter will be listed on the formal calendar (counsel mandatory).

For minor charges pending against the juvenile such as disorderly person offenses, simple assault, trespassing, criminal mischief, stolen property offenses, and shoplifting, the complaint will be listed for final disposition on the informal calendar (counsel not mandatory). The master probation officer will also schedule an initial detention hearing for any juvenile remanded to the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center within 24-hours of juvenile' s incarceration.

If the case is listed on the informal calendar, the juvenile doesn't need to be represented by an attorney and the matter can be sent to one of several diversionary programs for disposition:

The Juvenile Conference Committee is made of community members who are concerned with preventing future misconduct by the juvenile and address minor acts of delinquency without the need for court intervention.
The Intake Screening Conference's primary goal is to assist families in resolving matters with out the need for court intervention by utilizing court resources.
The Juvenile Referee hears informal juvenile matters for which attorney representation in court isn't mandatory. The referee can recommend dismissal of a complaint or make a finding of delinquency. All decisions made by the referee must be approved by a family court judge.
The Juvenile Auto-Theft Prevention Program is for juveniles charged with auto-theft and who have not been previously found delinquent. The goal of the program is to inform juveniles and their parents about the consequences of auto-theft.
The Prevention, Intervention, Education Program is for juveniles arrested for the first time for substance abuse-related offenses. Juveniles and their parents must attend all educational sessions.
The Family Crisis Intervention Unit handles cases involving juveniles, their parents, or other family members that pose a threat to the juvenile for reasons other than delinquency. If the matter can' t be resolved, then the case will be referred to a family court judge for disposition.

If the juvenile's complaint is placed on the formal calendar, the matter will be heard in family court before a judge, with the juvenile represented by an attorney at all court proceedings. The assistant prosecutor assigned to the case will present the evidence before the court and must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the assistant prosecutor meets the burden of proof, the juvenile is found delinquent and the judge will impose a disposition, such as fines, community service, a deferred disposition for up to one year, or a probationary term that can last up to three years. If the juvenile doesn' t comply with the probationary conditions, the original complaint will be re-instated and be heard by a judge. For those juveniles who have been found delinquent of very serious crime, the judge can impose the following sanctions:

Remand to a state-run juvenile correctional facility for youth supervised by the New Jersey Department of Corrections
Remand to a residential treatment program supervised by the New Jersey Department of Corrections
Remand to a residential substance abuse treatment program supervised by the New Jersey Department of Corrections

As with adult offenders, juveniles released from the custody of the New Jersey Department of Corrections prior to their designated sentence expiration date can be placed on juvenile parole. Juvenile parole officers will ensure that the juvenile continues to comply with the terms set forth in the juvenile parole plan by the New Jersey State Parole Board. Juveniles adjudicated delinquent on sexual offenses are also subject to Megan's Law upon release from custody.

Under specific circumstances, a juvenile older than the age of 14 who has been charged with certain offenses, such as homicide, and has been found unlikely to be rehabilitated before the age of 19 may be subject to a waiver to Superior Court and tried as an adult. In such cases, the Family Court waives its jurisdiction over the case and transfers it to the criminal division for disposition.

For more information, call the Essex County Prosecutor's
Victim-Witness Advocacy Office at 973-621-4687
or the ECPO Juvenile Justice Unit at 973-621-5384.