Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced the introduction of the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act of 2015, building on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The bill provide survivors with guaranteed paid leave if they need medical or legal help, and protect them from being fired if they're getting harassed at work or need additional security measures in order to stay safe.
“Survivors should not have to choose between economic security and safety," Murray said in a statement. "The SAFE Act would take critical steps to ensure survivors aren’t trapped in abusive relationships for financial reasons, and can seek protections at work without fear of punishment.”
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as many as 60% of survivors of intimate partner violence lose a job for reasons connected to abuse. The proposed bill will also include grants for programs that support financial literacy training and advocacy and studies looking at what issues — and what parts of the country — are the most difficult for people trying to leave an abusive situation.
Murray helped draft the original 1994 Violence Against Women Act, and she first introduced the SAFE Act in 2006 and has re-introduced it several times since then. Murray has also been a strong supporter of legislation aimed at reducing sexual assault on college campuses.