Sending Office: Roybal-Allard, Lucille
116th Cosponsors (66): Aguilar, Barragan, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Boyle, Brown, Brownley, Carbajal, Castor, Cicilline, Clark, Clarke, Cohen, Correa, Cummings, DeFazio, DeLauro, DeSaulnier, Deutch, Dingell, Espaillat,
Frankel, Gallego, Hastings, Jackson-Lee, Bernice Johnson, Kaptur, Khanna, Kilmer, Kuster, Lawson, Lee (CA), Levin (CA) Maloney, Matsui, McCollum, McGovern, McNerney, Meeks, Meng, Moore, Napolitano, Norton, Omar, Payne, Pocan, Quigley, Richmond, Ruiz, Rush,
Ryan (OH), Sablan, Sanchez, Schakowsky, Serrano, Soto, Speier, Swalwell, Takano, Titus, Torres, Velazquez, Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman, Wild.
One in four women and one in nine men have suffered physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner, which has a devastating impact on a survivor’s physical and emotional health. Often forgotten when we talk about victims of intimate partner violence,
sexual assault, stalking, and revenge pornography, is the severe economic impact this abuse can have on victims. It can cost victims their jobs, their homes, their health, and their insurance – and, in cases of domestic violence, reinforce their dependency
on their abusers as a result. Abusers often use economic necessities like rent, health care, and child care to exert control over their victims. And victims of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and revenge pornography often find that abuse
and threats follow them from home into the workplace – each year, they lose nearly eight million days of paid work—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs.
Although we have come a long way since the days when domestic violence was “just a family issue” and a “pre-existing condition,” there is no question there is much more we can do to combat this ongoing public health epidemic. Today, a woman can use the Family
and Medical Leave Act to care for a sick or injured spouse, but cannot use it to seek protection from an abuser. It is critical that those suffering from violence and exploitation have the flexibility to take time off from work to address needs like health
care, court appearances, and finding transitional housing in order to leave abusive relationships and prevent sexual assault or threats — but too often, that flexibility is not available.
Local governments such as New York City are taking actions to ensure the economic safety of survivors. But only 36 states and the District
of Columbia have laws that explicitly provide unemployment insurance to survivors of domestic violence under certain circumstances, and none of the laws explicitly cover victims of sexual assault or stalking. In addition, only 17 states provide survivors with
leave from work to go to court, to go to the doctor, or to take other steps to address domestic violence. It’s time for the federal government to step up and help survivors.
The Security And Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act builds on progress made through legislation like the Violence Against Women Act and the Affordable Care Act to continue to raise awareness and break down the economic barriers that intimate partner
violence, sexual assault, and stalking create for survivors and their families—because no one should have to choose between financial security and physical safety.
The SAFE Act allows survivors to take time off without penalty to make court appearances, seek legal assistance, and get help with safety planning for her or a loved one. The SAFE Act ensures that critical economic protections for these victims are available
in every state, so that no woman or man has to make the tragic choice of risking their safety to protect their livelihood. This legislation supports survivors of domestic violence by giving them tools to securely make the often difficult choice to seek help
or leave an abusive situation. The SAFE Act would:
- Allow a survivor to take up to 30 days off from work in a 12-month period, including seven days of paid time off consistent with the Healthy Families Act, to receive medical attention, seek legal assistance, attend court proceedings, and get help with safety
- Protect employees from being fired because they were harassed by their abuser, obtained protective orders, participated in the criminal or civil justice process, or sought modifications at work to increase workplace safety in response to domestic or sexual
- Require employers to make reasonable safety precautions or job-related modifications if requested, unless doing so would impose an undue burden on the employer;
- Ensure that survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking who have been separated from their employment as a result of such violence and exploitation are eligible for unemployment insurance;
- Invest in a national awareness campaign to encourage a culture of prevention and support for survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
- Request a GAO report on the impact of domestic violence on survivors’ ability to repay student loans.
For too many women and men, access to these essential services can mean the difference between life and death. And that is unacceptable. Please join me as a cosponsor of the SAFE Act to give them the support they need.
For more information or to co-sponsor the SAFE Act of 2019, contact José Miranda at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 202-225-1766.
Member of Congress
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