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 Budget and Appropriations Committee.
“Domestic violence is a very real problem – a problem that can be made worse if a victim feels that he or she is helpless and trapped in a bad situation because of a lack of employment,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “By requiring workforce development counselors and unemployment officers to undergo this training, they would be able to help empower victims of domestic violence to move forward and change their lives for the better.”
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.
“Stability is usually one of the main things lacking in the lives of domestic violence victims,” said Senator Karcher, D-Mercer and Monmouth. “Employment is such an important method of gaining independence, and this measure would help train workforce development employees to recognize the signs of domestic abuse, and allow them to refer victims to programs to help them leave their abusive situations while working toward self-sufficiency.”
It now awaits a vote by the full Senate.