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NJ SAFE Act aims to help victims of domestic violence financially

When people suffer from a tragic event in their lives, the effects can be widespread. One single event can disrupt many different areas of a person's life. The New Jersey Assembly has recognized this problem when it comes to victims who suffer from domestic violence. Among other areas of a person's life, domestic violence can disrupt a victim's financial capability of supporting themselves and their families. In response, the Assembly recently granted approval for a bill that will help provide victims of domestic violence with more financial stability.

The bill is referred to as the "NJ SAFE Act," which is short for The New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act. The bill, sponsored by Assembly Democrats, will give victims of domestic violence 20 additional days off of work within one year after a domestic violence incident. Employees and their family members, including children, parents and spouses, as well as civil union or domestic partners will be entitled to receive the benefit.

The extra time off work is intended to help victims of domestic violence take the necessary steps to overcome the physical or emotional abuse they suffered as a result of the incident. For example, victims may want to seek counseling and safety planning, obtain a temporary or permanent relocation, seek legal counsel and prepare for court dates. By having an extra 20 days off of work victims can obtain the services they need without the threat of losing their jobs or not being able to pay their bills as a result of taking too many days off of work. The bill will now be sent to the governor for further action.

It is important to note that while if passed, this bill will help victims of domestic violence seek the help they need, it is also necessary to point out that there are other forms of remedy victims may seek. For example, victims may be able to sue their abusers in civil court in order to seek compensations for damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering and in some states, punitive damages.

Acts of domestic violence can have a terrible effect on the victim's life. But through legislative and legal action, these incidents can be addressed in a safe and constructive manner.

Source: nj.com, "N.J. Assembly grants approval for NJ SAFE Act for domestic violence victims," Caitlin Willis, May 22, 2013

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