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Victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault need paid sick days

Domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault pose a great risk to far too many Americans--and the numbers of victims are increasing, not decreasing. A minimum standard of paid sick days, or "paid safe days," would provide victims with job-guaranteed paid time off when they need it most--to leave a violent situation or access crucial recovery services without risking losing their livelihoods. Read on to find out more about why paid sick days are critical for victims of domestic and sexual violence:

Did you know?

  • US domestic violence and sexual assault cases are prevalent, and increasing

    An astonishing 248,300 individuals were reported raped or sexually assaulted in 2007, a 25 percent increase since 2005 (1). Domestic violence results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and two million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men annually (2).

  • Victims are often forced to take unpaid leave

    Victims of severe domestic violence miss nearly 8 million days of paid work—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs—and lose almost 5.6 million days of household productivity each year (3). Without paid sick and safe days, these victims are in grave danger of losing their jobs. Between 25 and 50 percent of victims reported losing a job, at least in part, due to domestic violence (4).

  • Victims need paid sick days to care for their health and seek assistance

    Victims of domestic violence often stay with their abusers in order to keep their housing, health care, or income (5). The loss of employment can be particularly devastating for victims, who often need economic security to ensure safety. Startlingly, victims of domestic violence are at an increased risk of harm shortly after separation from an abusive partner (6). It is essential that victims are able to find shelter, file restraining orders, attend court dates, or receive counseling to prevent further abuse and work disruption.

  • Paid "safe days" will especially help victims who are low-wage workers

    Domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault affect workers across the income spectrum, but the effects of these crimes are magnified for low-income workers, who often lack the resources necessary to access medical care, contact necessary authorities, or obtain a protective order (7). An incredible 40 percent of low-wage workers have no paid leave of any kind—no paid sick days, paid vacation, or paid personal days (8).

The bottom line: paid sick and safe days would allow victims of violence to seek critical services without losing a paycheck or risking their job.

Want more facts? Knowledge is power! Click here to return to the "Learn More" page.


1. National Crime Victimization Survey 2007. Published Dec. 2008. U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

2. Adverse Health Conditions and Health Risk Behaviors Associated with Intimate Partner Violence, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. February 2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

3. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2003). Costs of intimate partner violence against women in the United States.

4. Lloyd, S., & Taluc, N. 1999. “The effect of male violence on female employment

5. D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Paid Safe Days Benefit Both Domestic Violence Victims and Employers, 2007.

6. Bachman, R. and Salzman, L. 2000. Bureau of Justice Statistics

7. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence: Welfare, Poverty and Abused Women: New Research and Its Implications, 2000.

8. Katherin Ross Phillips, Getting Time Off: Access to Leave among Working Parents, The Urban Institute, 2004