State of New Jersey
Executive Order #110

Governor Christine Todd Whitman

WHEREAS, domestic violence is a pervasive problem in American Society and in the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, domestic violence devastates its victims and threatens the health and safety of families; and

WHEREAS, domestic violence imposes staggering costs on society associated with legal and medical expenses, law enforcement, social services, the courts and lost productivity in the workplace; and

WHEREAS, people die each year in New Jersey as a result of domestic violence, in circumstances that may be preventable; and

WHEREAS, a function of the Office on the Prevention of Violence Against Women (the "Office") in the Division of Women of the Department of Community Affairs is to implement strategies to prevent violence against women and to explore prevention initiatives;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. There is hereby established the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board ("Board") within the Office to study domestic violence related deaths and make recommendations regarding how these fatalities may be prevented.

2. The purposes of the Board are to:

a. Enhance the cooperation between public and private entities that deal with domestic violence issues with the goal of reducing premature deaths involving domestic violence.

b. Review facts and circumstances of domestic violence related fatalities to identify correlates of domestic violence related fatalities, and to perform other research as necessary toward the prevention of domestic violence related fatalities.

c. Develop a process for change in policies, procedures and protocols necessary to accomplish improvement in the prevention of domestic violence related fatalities.

3. The Board shall consist of the following 15 members:

a. The Attorney General, the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Medical Examiner, the Superintendent of State Police, the New Jersey Public Defender, the Director of the Division on Women, the Supervisor of the Office on the Prevention of Violence against Women, and the Project Director of the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board Grant or their designees.

b. Public Members appointed by the Governor shall include one representative each from the following: a representative of the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, a county domestic violence assistant prosecutor, a licensed social worker or a psychologist with demonstrated expertise in the field of domestic violence, a law enforcement representative with experience in domestic violence, a licensed physician or registered nurse or nurse practitioner knowledgeable in the field of domestic violence and/or forensic pathology, and a child protective service worker with experience in family violence and child death review.

4. The Board shall:

a. Collect, review and analyze information including death certificates and death data, investigative reports, police, medical and counseling records, victim service records, employment records, or other information concerning domestic abuse fatalities, survivor interviews and surveys, and other information deemed by the Board as necessary and appropriate concerning the causes and manner of domestic violence fatalities.

b. Determine whether a domestic violence related death might have been prevented with improved policies or procedures of the health care system, social services system, law enforcement, the courts, or any other public or private entity.

The Board may make recommendations based on an analysis of information gathered through this process.

c. No domestic violence related fatality may be reviewed if there is an on-going investigation or prosecution, unless the law enforcement agencies having responsibility for the case certify that the Board's review will not impede the investigation or prosecution.

d. The Board may establish committees or panels to which the Board may assign some or all of its responsibilities.

e. The Office shall develop operation guidelines for the administration of the Board.

f. Develop a database for the analysis of an aggregate population of domestic violence related fatalities. The Board shall not permit dissemination of non-aggregate information except as provided by law.

g. A research data analysis committee may be established to gather data from institutions and individuals and to organize and summarize information for the full Board to develop a process for system change.

5. The Board is authorized to call upon a department, office, division or agency of this State to supply it with data and other information or assistance it deems necessary to discharge its duties under this Order. Each department, office, division or agency of this State is hereby required, to the extent not inconsistent with law, to cooperate with the Board and to furnish it with such information and assistance as is necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order.

6. The Board shall report to the Governor, no later than one year from the date of this Executive Order, on the Board's progress and findings, and to make any recommendations regarding the Board's operation, including whether legislative authority would enhance the operation of the Board.

7. To the extent not inconsistent with current law, any information received from an institution, agency, individual, board, court, legislative committee, or other entity shall be kept confidential, and shall not be disclosed by the Board and its membership except in an aggregate form for research purposes by the Board and its members.

8. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal
this 15th day of March in the Year
of Our Lord, Two Thousand, and
of the Independence of the United
States, the Two Hundred and Twenty-Fourth.

/s/ Christine Todd Whitman



/s/ Richard S. Mroz
Chief Counsel to the Governor