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New year, new law to help California victims of domestic violence

Divorce once had a stigma attached to it, and was considered 'socially unacceptable' to many. It's likely that back in those days there were abusive marriages where people either didn't suspect, put on a brave face or simply ignored it. These days no one needs to tolerate a situation they find unbearable, especially where domestic violence is present. Something which may help victims to feel more secure is a new California law that came into force on Jan. 1, which enables victims to break tenancy leases without financial cost.

Prior to this date, it was necessary to go through the legal process in order to break a lease, which could take time. Such information was also vulnerable to public exposure. Potentially, the abusers would have the ability to track the victims down and being tied into a lease, which still had some months to run, would leave the victim with a difficult and frightening choice; to pay the remaining months and suffer financial difficulty to safeguard their credit record, or stay and risk the possibility of dangerous confrontation with their abuser?

This new law will help these victims to avoid such dilemmas. California landlord groups were initially skeptical, fearing that it would be exploited by unscrupulous people. Their concerns have been addressed and they have now given it their backing. One form with a statement, from a list of specific advocates, will now be recognized in law and accepted by landlords to allow the breaking of the lease agreement with no penalties.

It takes a lot of time and effort to overcome the damage caused by domestic violence. Every individual has an inalienable right to live without fear or any kind of abuse. When the victims have recovered some of their confidence, they may be in a better position to consider what they want their future to hold. Among other things, they may consider filing for a protection order, to give them breathing space while they decide what steps they wish to take next.

Source: Southern California Public Radio, California law aims to help domestic abuse victims escape violence, J. D. Hilliard, Dec. 26, 2013

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