The Atlantic

Paid Leave From Work Can Help Domestic-Violence Victims Leave Abusers

Sixty percent of victims lost their jobs as a direct result of their abuse.
Source: Shutterstock

“Just leave.”

It’s the advice many domestic-violence victims hear most. But leaving—the meetings with lawyers, the court appearances, the apartment hunting, the counseling sessions, the all-consuming physical and emotional path to recovery—requires time and flexibility. Dawn Dalton, the policy director at the Washington, D.C., Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said scheduling demands are consistently the largest obstacle standing between the victim and a different life: “I hear, again and again, ‘I just can’t get time off work.’”

Last week, legislation granting 10 days of paid leave to victims of domestic violence, becoming the second country in the world, after the Philippines, to institute nationally mandated paid leave for domestic-violence victims. For victims, Dalton said, a paid-leave policy like New Zealand’s could be the difference between leaving and staying—or between leaving, and leaving for good.

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