About one in four women will experience abuse during their lifetimes. To stay safe, a woman may need to appear at a hearing during regular office hours, meet with prosecutors or detectives, or meet a landlord to sign a lease on a new apartment, says Women’s eNews. Yet many women may not be allowed to take time off work. Many fear reprisal if they even ask.
That has begun to change as a growing number of legislatures are giving victims of domestic violence the right to take time off from work to address the violence in their lives. Maine and California passed the first domestic violence leave laws in 1999. Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, and New York followed, along with some municipalities, such as Miami-Dade County, Fla. The latest is North Carolina, where a law took effect in October 2004. Seven other states have considered legislation focused on domestic and sexual violence. Many more states have specific protections for victims who need time off work to attend or testify at criminal proceedings, but these do not extend to civil matters such as seeking a protection order.