DearColleague.us

Letter

Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
Sent By: victoria.coats@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 1229
Date: 11/21/2014

Cosponsor H.R. 1229, the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act to Remove Economic Barriers for Domestic Violence Victims

 

Current Cosponsors (24): Bordallo (GU), Cartwright (PA-17), Chu (CA-27), Clark (MA-5), Clarke (NY-9), DeLauro (CT-3), Ellison (MN-5), Fudge (OH-11), Grijalva (AZ-3), Hahn (CA-44), Jackson Lee (TX-18), Lee (CA-13), Lowenthal (CA-47), Lunch (MA-8), McCollum (MN-4), Moore (WI-4), Pocan (WI-2), Richmond (LA-2), Rush (IL-1), Sanchez (CA-46), Schakowsky (IL-9), Shea-Porter (NH-1), Takano (CA-41), Wilson (FL-24)

 

Dear Colleague:

I invite you to read a recent CNN article detailing the extent of financial abuse commonly experienced by victims of domestic violence.

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Rep. Roybal-Allard’s Press Release

While overlooked in domestic violence discourse, financial abuse is often used by domestic abusers to deprive victims of the financial independence and resources needed to leave violent relationships. In cases of financial abuse, violent partners frequently control victims through limiting their access to finances, destroying their credit histories, and interfering with their ability to maintain steady employment. As a result, survivors struggle to escape and are likely to experience poverty and financial ruin, even if they are successful. According to the Center for Disease Control, 98% of battered women report having experienced some form of financial abuse.

As survivors commonly fail to qualify for safe and affordable housing and obtain funds due to destroyed credit scores, sporadic employment histories, and legal issues caused by the battering, the absence of legal protections for financial abuse creates even greater strain. According to federal law, battered women are not expressly allowed to take leave from work to manage the aftermath of escaping domestic violence, nor do they have the right to unemployment compensation if they lose their jobs due to circumstances resulting from abuse. Unsurprisingly, survivors often state that fear of being unable to financially provide for themselves or their children was a top reason for remaining in a violent relationship.

Because of the lack of effective remedies for the economic exploitation experienced by victims, I introduced H.R. 1229, the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act to provide survivors the financial stability and personal security essential to end the cycle of abuse.

The SAFE Act would grant victims:

•    Emergency leave and employment non-discrimination provisions, which allow domestic violence survivors to take up to 30 days off from work in a 12-month period to receive medical attention, obtain legal assistance, attend court proceedings, and seek safety planning.  For someone attempting to escape a violent environment, the aforementioned measures are time-consuming, but essential to ending the cycle of violence.
•    Eligibility for unemployment insurance.
•    Resources and support through reauthorization of the National Workplace Resource Center grant program. This program would award grants to eligible nonprofit or tribal organizations to establish and operate a national resource center on workplace responses to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence.
•    Protection through prohibiting employers or insurance providers from basing hiring or coverage decisions on a victim’s history of abuse.

I welcome you to cosponsor H.R. 1229, the SAFE Act, and hope that you will join me in helping victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and their families to break the cycle of violence in their lives. If you have further questions, comments, or suggestions, or would like to be a cosponsor of this legislation, please contact Victoria Coats of my staff at victoria.coats@mail.house.gov.

 

Sincerely,

LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD