FREDERICK, MD - Several Maryland laws went into effect this week. Two of them help protect victims of domestic violence.
Lala Mooney has a lot to sing about, but things weren't always as happy.
"My husband was a good man, but he had a very short fuse, and he would start yelling and screaming. He would throw stuff around the house and then he would become physical with me and the kids," said Mooney, a domestic violence survivor.
Mooney subconsciously started taking her wedding ring off at a group meeting at the Heartly House. It was at that point she realized it was time for a change.
The Maryland General Assembly passed the laws this session to help protect people like Mooney.
The first would make abuse victims who have to leave their job to escape domestic violence eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
"I think it's very important that women be protected in their employment and assisted in that area," Mooney said.
"The second law gives judges the opportunity to notate on a file that it's domestic related. For our legal services team, that helps with protective orders and peace orders. It gives them the opportunity to know an abuser that might go from victim to victim," said Roberta Geidner, CEO of the Heartly House.
The laws are something those at the Heartly House shelter say should add another layer of protection for domestic violence victims.
"These two new laws give out victims one more opportunity to find independence and safety," Geidner said. "That's the biggest thing that we work for through our counseling efforts, our case management efforts, our housing, and our shelter."
Mooney, a Cuban immigrant, worked things out in her marriage after going through counseling. She thinks the situation made her son Alex stronger. In fact, he went on to become a state senator.
She's glad to see lawmakers stepping in to give domestic violence survivors like herself a reason to continue singing.
To read the more information on the laws, click here.