TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Ellen Karcher that would create “The Domestic Violence and Workforce Development Initiative Act,” and require the State’s workforce development counselors to be trained to address the needs of domestic violence victims was approved today by the Senate Labor Committee.
“The issue of domestic violence prevention is so important because of the huge impact it has on the families it affects,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Preparing workforce development and unemployment counselors to deal with the needs of domestic violence victims will provide them with the encouragement to seek refuge while working for self-sufficiency.”
The Senators’ measure, S-2160, would require training for State workforce development counselors and unemployment officers on how to identify and address the needs of domestic violence victims. Counselors would make referrals for victims to domestic violence agencies, and tackle problems with domestic violence victims such as how to obtain employment benefits, find employment and advance their future career goals.
The Commissioner of Community Affairs would be directed to develop a plan to increase domestic violence awareness and to direct the State’s workforce development programs in the ways they can better assist victims.
This legislation would also make the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development a member of the Advisory Council on Domestic Violence.
“In many cases, a domestic violence victim’s degree of economic independence serves as the determining factor in their decision to remain in or leave an abusive relationship,” said Senator Karcher, D-Mercer and Monmouth. “It is important that counselors and other professionals are both trained in and capable of referring victims to domestic violence prevention agencies – in doing so, they may just save a life.”