Our View: New lease on a new life?
Domestic abuse victims who attempt to make a break from their situations often face financial issues as a result.
But the Wisconsin Legislature has approved a new law that will help eliminate that second victimization.
The law, signed by Gov. Jim Doyle last week, will allow victims of domestic abuse to break rental agreements without penalty.
Previously, those breaking a lease for such a legitimate reason could end up owing thousands of dollars in rent. Social service officials claim that fact often discouraged abuse victims from leaving bad relationships.
Of course, lawmakers don't want people to misuse the new law to break legal leases. Abuse victims must show some proof that they are in an abusive relationship (i.e. a restraining order or a filed criminal complaint) in order to get out of their lease.
The new law makes sense, as those working to curb domestic violence work to remove obstacles that keep victims in dangerous situations.
It's what state government is all about -- considering improved safeguards to protect people who feel trapped.
Legislators and anti-domestic violence advocates are to be applauded for this recent effort.