Our Massachusetts governor recently signed into law a bill meant to protect victims of domestic abuse. This law would allow victims of such abuse living in apartments to get out of their leases without financial consequences. It also would make it easier for victims of abuse to have the abusers evicted, change the locks and get orders of protection.
It’s sad that such a law is even deemed necessary. A significant problem concerning domestic violence is that victims feel so isolated. Too often laws have already been placed in the books while victims are left unaware of the legal protections that they have been provided.
Ironically, domestic violence is a widespread yet little-understood problem. Friends and family members may not have ever witnessed domestic violence in specific circumstances and therefore assume that abuse does not exist.
Victims of domestic abuse are often in fear for their lives. However, they are also reluctant to report abuse to authorities due to the belief that their concerns will not be taken seriously, and because of the fact that the abuser may attempt to retaliate against the victim for reporting this abuse.
Considering the complex and confusing nature of the domestic abuse problem, those dealing with a domestic violence situation would be strongly advised to consult with an attorney experienced in this particular area. These attorneys can educate victims about their legal options. Attorneys can also provide these victims with the resources they badly need in dealing with an otherwise impossible situation.
Source: WGGB, “Domestic Violence Law Protects Mass. Renters,” Aug. 20, 2013