ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown kicked off Domestic Violence month by highlighting two new laws that take effect October 1 to protect victims of domestic violence.
"Ending domestic violence in Maryland is a responsibility that all of us share, and Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a chance to reach out and educate Marylanders about stopping the violence,"said Lt. Governor Brown. "These new laws will help break the cycle of violence and ensure that more of our friends, relatives, and neighbors have an opportunity to live healthy, happy lives.
Starting Monday, residents who are forced to leave their employment to escape the threat of domestic violence will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Another law that goes into effect Monday requires judges to report whether or not defendants are found to have had a "domestically-related relationship" with their victims. If they have, a notation will be added to their criminal record that indicates they have committed a domestic violence-related crime. That will be used by law enforcement to monitor domestic violence offenders.
"Domestic violence robs people of their dignity and undermines the strength and stability of Maryland's families and communities, said Tammy Brown," Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention. "These new laws will improve our ability to identify, track and monitor these offenders while offering additional safety and security for victims."