Each year, more than 10 million women and men experience physical abuse from an intimate partner. That amounts to about 20 victims per minute. Many leave their abusers. Others do not. All of them are offered similar protections and services, including the workplace protection for domestic violence victims. If you or someone you love is facing a domestic violence situation, know what these protections are, and how they may be able to help you move forward, should you decide to leave.
Domestic Violence Leave of Absence
Under Illinois state law, domestic violence victims may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs to complete certain activities, including:
- Seeking medical treatment for injuries caused by domestic violence;
- Time to heal from injuries caused by domestic violence;
- Obtaining counseling or other psychological services;
- Obtaining services from a domestic violence victim organization;
- Participation in a safety plan, relocation, and/or other actions to increase safety; and
- Obtaining legal assistance or legal remedies (i.e. a restraining order) to increase safety.
Whenever possible, employees should give at least 48 hours prior to taking the time off. However, employers cannot take action against an employee who is unable to provide such notice, as long as they are able to provide certification that verifies the time was, in fact, used on any of the above actions. (Note: Even when notice is given, employers may request certification to document the validity of domestic violence. Victims should retain a copy of any certification provided to their employer.)
Leaving Your Abuser is Not a Requirement
Often, domestic violence victims feel they must leave to receive any sort of benefits. This is not the case with workplace protections (nor is it always the case for other services). Of course, leaving is always an option – one that can give you a chance at a new life. Should you ever make this decision, ensure you take proper precautions and legal steps to ensure the safety of you and any children you may have. Such protections and precautions may include:
- Developing a safety plan;
- Obtaining a restraining order;
- Staying at a domestic violence shelter, where there is extra security and protection;
- Installing an alarm in your home;
- Changing your locks;
- Requesting special safety accommodations at work; and
- Contacting an attorney for assistance.
You Are Not Alone
No matter what you decide, it is important to know that you are not alone, and that there are advocates out there who are willing to help you. At Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C., we assist with the legal aspects, such as putting a restraining order in place. If you wish, we can also help you pursue a legal separation or divorce to establish child support and/or spousal support. Whatever your needs, our compassionate Naperville family law attorneys will strive to protect you from future violence. Call 630-665-7676 and schedule your confidential consultation with us today.