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New Jersey's new domestic violence act now in effect

New Jersey residents who are involved in a domestic violence incident know how frightening they can be to the victim and their family. When a person is hurt or threatened by someone they know and love, it can be a scary situation for everyone involved. No one should be a victim of domestic violence and those who are should know what legal rights they have against their abuser.

A law in New Jersey allowing employees to take up to 20 days of unpaid leave if they are dealing with a domestic violence issue went into effect on Oct. 1. The New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act ("NJ SAFE Act") allows employees who work for a company that employs 25 or more workers to take a leave of up to 20 days. The domestic violence or sexual assault incident can affect the employee or their children, parent, spouse, civil union partner or domestic partner.

The Act provides leave for employees who need to recover from injuries, relocate themselves or loved ones, obtain services from victim advocate groups, seek legal counsel and other related activities. New Jersey is now one of at least a dozen states that provide similar leave laws.

Victims of domestic violence, including physical abuse, sexual abuse and stalking need to know that they have options available to them. Victim advocacy groups can be helpful in assisting victims with their immediate needs. In addition, a legal professional skilled in family law can also help a family determine their legal needs and options. A restraining order against the abuser can help keep the victim and her family safe. It is important for victims to use the legal system to protect themselves and their families from further abuse.

Source: Forbes, "Domestic violence and sexual assault, NJ becomes the latest to provide leave for victimized employees," Gene Connors, Sept. 26, 2013

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