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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1801

To promote the economic security and safety of victims of domestic and 
                sexual violence, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            October 30, 2003

  Mrs. Murray (for herself, Mr. Corzine, Mr. Schumer, and Mr. Dayton) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
                          Committee on Finance

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To promote the economic security and safety of victims of domestic and 
                sexual violence, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Security and 
Financial Empowerment Act'' or the ``SAFE Act''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.
  TITLE I--ENTITLEMENT TO EMERGENCY LEAVE FOR ADDRESSING DOMESTIC OR 
                            SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Sec. 101. Purposes.
Sec. 102. Entitlement to emergency leave for addressing domestic or 
                            sexual violence.
Sec. 103. Existing leave usable for addressing domestic or sexual 
                            violence.
Sec. 104. Emergency benefits.
Sec. 105. Effect on other laws and employment benefits.
Sec. 106. Conforming amendments.
Sec. 107. Effective date.
   TITLE II--ENTITLEMENT TO UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS OF 
    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, OR STALKING

Sec. 201. Purposes.
Sec. 202. Unemployment compensation and training provisions.
             TITLE III--VICTIMS' EMPLOYMENT SUSTAINABILITY

Sec. 301. Short title.
Sec. 302. Purposes.
Sec. 303. Prohibited discriminatory acts.
Sec. 304. Enforcement.
Sec. 305. Attorney's fees.
            TITLE IV--VICTIMS OF ABUSE INSURANCE PROTECTION

Sec. 401. Short title.
Sec. 402. Definitions.
Sec. 403. Discriminatory acts prohibited.
Sec. 404. Insurance protocols for subjects of abuse.
Sec. 405. Reasons for adverse actions.
Sec. 406. Life insurance.
Sec. 407. Subrogation without consent prohibited.
Sec. 408. Enforcement.
Sec. 409. Effective date.
              TITLE V--WORKPLACE SAFETY PROGRAM TAX CREDIT

Sec. 501. Credit for costs to employers of implementing workplace 
                            safety programs.
TITLE VI--NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE ON DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE 
                            WORKPLACE GRANT

Sec. 601. National clearinghouse on domestic and sexual violence in the 
                            workplace grant.
                        TITLE VII--SEVERABILITY

Sec. 701. Severability.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Domestic violence crimes account for approximately 15 
        percent of total crime costs in the United States each year.
            (2) Violence against women has been reported to be the 
        leading cause of physical injury to women. Such violence has a 
        devastating impact on women's physical and emotional health and 
        financial security.
            (3) According to a recent National Institutes of Health--
        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, each year 
        there are 5,300,000 non-fatal violent victimizations committed 
        by intimate partners against women. Female murder victims were 
        substantially more likely than male murder victims to have been 
        killed by an intimate partner. About \1/3\ of female murder 
        victims, and about 4 percent of male murder victims, were 
        killed by an intimate partner.
            (4) According to recent government estimates, approximately 
        987,400 rapes occur annually in the United States, 89 percent 
        of the rapes perpetrated against female victims. Since 2001, 
        rapes have actually increased by 4 percent.
            (5) Approximately 10,200,000 people have been stalked at 
        some time in their lives. Four out of every 5 stalking victims 
        are women. Stalkers harass and terrorize their victims by 
        spying on the victims, standing outside their places of work or 
        homes, making unwanted phone calls, sending or leaving unwanted 
        letters or items, or vandalizing property.
            (6) Employees in the United States who have been victims of 
        domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking 
        too often suffer adverse consequences in the workplace as a 
        result of their victimization.
            (7) Victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual 
        assault, and stalking are particularly vulnerable to changes in 
        employment, pay, and benefits as a result of their 
        victimizations, and are, therefore, in need of legal 
        protection.
            (8) The prevalence of domestic violence, dating violence, 
        sexual assault, stalking, and other violence against women at 
        work is dramatic. About 36,500 individuals, 80 percent of whom 
        are women, were raped or sexually assaulted in the workplace 
        each year from 1993 through 1999. Half of all female victims of 
        violent workplace crimes know their attackers. Nearly 1 out of 
        10 violent workplace incidents are committed by partners or 
        spouses. Women who work for State and local governments suffer 
        a higher incidence of workplace assaults, including rapes, than 
        women who work in the private sector.
            (9) Homicide is the leading cause of death for women on the 
        job. Husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners commit 15 percent of 
        workplace homicides against women.
            (10) Studies indicate that between 35 and 56 percent of 
        employed battered women surveyed were harassed at work by their 
        abusive partners.
            (11) According to a 1998 report of the General Accounting 
        Office, between \1/4\ and \1/2\ of domestic violence victims 
        surveyed in 3 studies reported that the victims lost a job due, 
        at least in part, to domestic violence.
            (12) Women who have experienced domestic violence or dating 
        violence are more likely than other women to be unemployed, to 
        suffer from health problems that can affect employability and 
        job performance, to report lower personal income, and to rely 
        on welfare.
            (13) Abusers frequently seek to control their partners by 
        actively interfering with their ability to work, including 
        preventing their partners from going to work, harassing their 
        partners at work, limiting the access of their partners to cash 
        or transportation, and sabotaging the child care arrangements 
        of their partners.
            (14) More than \1/2\ of women receiving welfare have been 
        victims of domestic violence as adults and between \1/4\ and 
        \1/3\ reported being abused in the last year.
            (15) Victims of intimate partner violence lose 8,000,000 
        days of paid work each year--the equivalent of over 32,000 
        full-time jobs and 5,600,000 days of household productivity.
            (16) Sexual assault, whether occurring in or out of the 
        workplace, can impair an employee's work performance, require 
        time away from work, and undermine the employee's ability to 
        maintain a job. Almost 50 percent of sexual assault survivors 
        lose their jobs or are forced to quit in the aftermath of the 
        assaults.
            (17) More than 35 percent of stalking victims report losing 
        time from work due to the stalking and 7 percent never return 
        to work.
            (18)(A) According to the National Institute of Justice, 
        crime costs an estimated $450,000,000,000 annually in medical 
        expenses, lost earnings, social service costs, pain, suffering, 
        and reduced quality of life for victims, which harms the 
        Nation's productivity and drains the Nation's resources.
            (B) Violent crime accounts for $426,000,000,000 per year of 
        this amount.
            (C) Rape exacts the highest costs per victim of any 
        criminal offense, and accounts for $127,000,000,000 per year of 
        the amount described in subparagraph (A).
            (19) Violent crime results in wage losses equivalent to 1 
        percent of all United States earnings, and causes 3 percent of 
        the Nation's medical spending and 14 percent of the Nation's 
        injury-related medical spending.
            (20) The Bureau of National Affairs has estimated that 
        domestic violence costs United States employers between 
        $3,000,000,000 and $5,000,000,000 annually in lost time and 
        productivity, while other reports have estimated the cost at 
        between $5,800,000,000 and $13,000,000,000 annually.
            (21) United States medical costs for domestic violence have 
        been estimated to be $31,000,000,000 per year.
            (22) Surveys of business executives and corporate security 
        directors also underscore the heavy toll that workplace 
        violence takes on women, businesses, and interstate commerce in 
        the United States.
            (23) Ninety-four percent of corporate security and safety 
        directors at companies nationwide rank domestic violence as a 
        high security concern.
            (24) Forty-nine percent of senior executives recently 
        surveyed said domestic violence has a harmful effect on their 
        company's productivity, 47 percent said domestic violence 
        negatively affects attendance, and 44 percent said domestic 
        violence increases health care costs.
            (25) Only 25 States have laws that explicitly provide 
        unemployment insurance to domestic violence victims in certain 
        circumstances, and none of the laws explicitly cover victims of 
        sexual assault or stalking.
            (26) Only 6 States provide domestic violence victims with 
        leave from work to go to court, to the doctor, or to take other 
        steps to address the domestic violence in their lives, and only 
        Maine provides such leave to victims of sexual assault and 
        stalking.
            (27) No States prohibit employment discrimination against 
        victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Five 
        States provide limited protection to some victims under certain 
        circumstances.
            (28) Employees, including individuals participating in 
        welfare to work programs, may need to take time during business 
        hours to--
                    (A) obtain orders of protection;
                    (B) seek medical or legal assistance, counseling, 
                or other services; or
                    (C) look for housing in order to escape from 
                domestic violence.
            (29) Domestic and sexual violence victims have been 
        subjected to discrimination by private and State employers, 
        including discrimination motivated by sex and stereotypic 
        notions about women.
            (30) Domestic violence victims and third parties who help 
        them have been subjected to discriminatory practices by health, 
        life, disability, and property and casualty insurers and 
        employers who self-insure employee benefits who have denied or 
        canceled coverage, rejected claims, and raised rates based on 
        domestic violence. Although some State legislatures have tried 
        to address these problems, the scope of protection afforded by 
        the laws adopted varies from State to State, with many failing 
        to address the problem comprehensively. Moreover, Federal law 
        prevents States from protecting the almost 40 percent of 
        employees whose employers self-insure employee benefits.
            (31) Existing Federal law does not explicitly--
                    (A) authorize victims of domestic violence, dating 
                violence, sexual assault, or stalking to take leave 
                from work to seek legal assistance and redress, 
                counseling, or assistance with safety planning 
                activities;
                    (B) address the eligibility of victims of domestic 
                violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking 
                for unemployment compensation;
                    (C) prohibit employment discrimination against 
                actual or perceived victims of domestic violence, 
                dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
                    (D) prohibit insurers and employers who self-insure 
                employee benefits from discriminating against domestic 
                violence victims and those who help them in determining 
                eligibility, rates charged, and standards for payment 
                of claims; nor does it prohibit insurers from 
                disclosure of information about abuse and the victim's 
                location through insurance databases and other means.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act, except as otherwise expressly provided:
            (1) Commerce.--The terms ``commerce'' and ``industry or 
        activity affecting commerce'' have the meanings given the terms 
        in section 101 of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 
        U.S.C. 2611).
            (2) Course of conduct.--The term ``course of conduct'' 
        means a course of repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical 
        proximity to a person or conveying verbal or written threats, 
        including threats conveyed through electronic communications, 
        or threats implied by conduct.
            (3) Dating violence.--The term ``dating violence'' has the 
        meaning given the term in section 826 of the Higher Education 
        Amendments of 1998 (20 U.S.C. 1152).
            (4) Domestic or sexual violence.--The term ``domestic or 
        sexual violence'' means domestic violence, dating violence, 
        sexual assault, or stalking.
            (5) Domestic violence.--The term ``domestic violence'' has 
        the meaning given the term in section 826 of the Higher 
        Education Amendments of 1998 (20 U.S.C. 1152).
            (6) Domestic violence coalition.--The term ``domestic 
        violence coalition'' means a nonprofit, nongovernmental 
        membership organization that--
                    (A) consists of the entities carrying out a 
                majority of the domestic violence programs carried out 
                within a State;
                    (B) collaborates and coordinates activities with 
                Federal, State, and local entities to further the 
                purposes of domestic violence intervention and 
                prevention; and
                    (C) among other activities, provides training and 
                technical assistance to entities carrying out domestic 

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