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Domestic Violence and Your Job

Last night, New Zealand took a huge leap forward by becoming just the second country to grant victims of Domestic Violence ten days paid leave from work each year. (The first country was the Philippines). These ten days exclude annual holiday or sick leave. This additional time provides the victims an opportunity to find a new home, and otherwise protect themselves and their children. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world. According to the Guardian, on average the police respond to a domestic incident every four minutes. The country has estimated that they spend $2.8 to $4.8 billion a year on family violence.

This is giant leap for men and women that experience domestic violence. Regardless of the type of employment (contract employee, low/high paying job), domestic abuse can have a devastating impact on anyone’s employment; and some lose their job because of the abuse. The fear of losing financial security can also prevent someone from seeking help or disclosing the abuse to their employer or colleagues.

Far too often, Domestic Violence victims do not speak out about the abuse for fear that they will not be believed or supported. Yet abusers can use the victim’s employment as a means of control, through a variety of methods, such as making it difficult for them to effectively carry out their job, taking their earnings, harassing the victim at work, etc.

The devastating impact of domestic abuse on survivors, both physical and psychological, may also have a negative side effect on them carrying out their work to their usual ability or even result in unexplained lateness or absence. Survivors of abuse need to feel safe and secure that their employment is not in jeopardy. Often a survivor’s place of employment may be the only space where they can get help.

Their job might be what sustains them psychologically, but we also know that it can often be the only safe space away from the abuser where they feel that they can freely speak out about the abuse.

Here in the U.S., on average, there are 24 people per minute that are a victim of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. Over the course of a year, this equates to more than 12 million men and women that are victimized. According to a recent survey of American employees, 44% of full-time employed adults have personally experienced the effects of domestic abuse. Nearly 8 million paid days off each year are lost due to domestic abuse issues; that translates to more than 32,000 full time jobs. However, 70% of workplaces in the United States do NOT have a formal program or policy to address domestic violence issues that arise for their employees. Time will tell if the United States and other Western countries follows the lead of the Philippines and New Zealand to allow for paid leave when an employee has been victimized by domestic violence.

Family law litigation can be emotionally difficult and complex. Decisions made about each step of the litigation can affect you for many years. We have years of experience helping our clients with Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse, and can help you through the process. Contact us today at (253) 838 – 3377 or email at, to talk about your situation.

Disclaimer: All materials provided on this website have been prepared by Bains Law Firm for general information purposes only and no representation is made as to their completeness or accuracy. Information on this website is not intended as legal advice, and may not be relied upon as such. Only an attorney who can review the unique facts of each case and apply them to the statutes, case law and court rules can provide legal advice. Nothing in this website shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.

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