Domestic violence victims can now qualify for unemployment benefits

Surviving domestic violence is oftentimes not the end of the abuse. Victims' attackers will still come after them, sometimes at their workplace, where victims are trying to stay financially afloat. 

"For some survivors, work is no longer a safe place," said Mindy Murphy, president and CEO of The Spring of Tampa Bay. "If an abuser knows where her workplace is, and knows what time she comes and goes, that creates a perfect opportunity for him to find her and potentially harm her." 

Survivors face the difficult decision between financial stability and safety. A new state law is trying to alleviate some of that stress, by allowing victims to qualify for unemployment benefits. 

"For that person working in a job where there's only one location, or a small company that doesn't have the ability to relocate them to another site, this is creating an opportunity for a survivor to be able to leave the job, but have some income while they find a new position," explained Murphy. 

At The Spring of Tampa Bay, victims have a safe place to go, away from their attackers. For others not housed there, the road ahead can look bleak. 

"It is incredibly hard to find safe and affordable housing in our community," said Murphy. "To be able to find a safe place to live, you need money."

And that's why this new law is a game changer for those survivors who just need some time to figure out where to go next after abuse. 

"Domestic violence is incredibly destructive to survivors' lives," added Murphy. "The burden is always placed on the survivor to jump through all the hoops to ultimately become free and safe. This is leveling the playing field just a bit." 

If you are, or know someone who is a victim of domestic violence, here are hotlines you can call to receive help: 

The Spring, 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (813) 247-7233

Florida Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233