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Proposed legislation could give Florida survivors of domestic violence unemployment benefits

Posted at 7:18 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 04:24:01-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Inside the Victim Services building in West Palm Beach, you'll find a safe place to talk about dangerous situations.

"There's all the phases of going through domestic violence," Susan Carlini said.

Carlini has worked for Palm Beach County Victim Services for 15 years.

"We get them three different ways either through law enforcement, calling us directly out or sending referrals in," she says.

Carlini says when a survivor of domestic abuse decides to leave their situation they not only leave behind their lives, but many leave behind their financial security. But a new bill being considered by the Florida legislature could help.

"It would be an immense help," Carlini said.

The bill would give domestic abuse survivors the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits. Currently, 41 other states already have similar laws.

"It's a win, win situation in that respect because if they get relocation money and they leave their job how are they going to pay the rent," she said.

A local south Florida company who employs domestic violence survivors agrees.

"What I realized is there are so many women that don't understand that they have that power," Tracy Gunn said.

Gunn is the founder UR Bath and Body. A South Florida company that hires women going through a difficult time.

"It's challenging because they automatically come to work looking over their shoulder," Gunn said.

She says she's hired counselors to help with the readjustments, but she says this legislation could be the answer to help the women she couldn't get to.

"I feel like they need time to adjust and know that they are safe," she said.

For more information, call the Palm Beach County Public Safety Department Victim Services Division helpline at 561-833-7273 or Toll Free at 866-891-7273

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