New Jersey Safe and Sound, a nonprofit that raises awareness about predatory alienation, has been successful in convincing state lawmakers that the issue deserves greater attention.

The New Jersey Statehouse (Michael Symons/Townsquare Media)

It's defined as the purposeful disruption of an existing relationship, often through the use of deception, in order to isolate an individual from the people they trust for the purpose of controlling or taking advantage of that person.

A bill calling for a study of predatory alienation and its effects on young adults and senior citizens was introduced this month in the state Senate, and there's a companion bill in the Assembly.

Bill S2562, co-sponsored by state Sens. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, and Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, would require the departments of Children and Families and Human Services to jointly study predatory alienation.

The study's findings and recommendations would be submitted to the governor and Legislature within six months of the effective date of the bill.

Cardinale said the issue doesn't just impact New Jersey, it affects people nationwide, and he expects support because it's not a partisan issue.

"I just don't think anybody would be against this if we craft the eventual legislation in a careful way. We're not going overboard if we have sound data, and that's the point of how we're approaching it," said Cardinale.

Cardinale pointed out that an educational component also may be needed to inform people of their rights.

"And not just informed with a notice, but imbued with the idea that they needn't be victims, that they have resources that are available to them to prevent other folks taking advantage of them," Cardinale said.

He pointed out that predatory alienation can be related to bullying. Extremists, human traffickers, abusive partners, gangs and swindlers are among the various types of perpetrators that exert undue influence to exploit trust and gain control of an individual, according to New Jersey Safe and Sound.

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at

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