Last month marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. This historic act has saved lives, improved access to justice, built critical infrastructure for support services and broken ground in changing the culture that breeds this epidemic.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness MonthAccording to the CDC, more than one out of every three women in the U.S. has experienced some form of violence at the hands of an intimate partner in her lifetime. Sometimes domestic violence can follow women to the workplace: Research shows that more women in the U.S. die on the job as a result of domestic violence than they do at the hands of a client or a co-worker. And we know that although domestic violence can occur in families at every income level or economic status, the rates of abuse tend to be higher among women with limited financial resources. So that women, especially mothers, who have financial resources, good jobs and job security are more likely to leave an abuser.

And even if a woman is gainfully employed, the abusive relationship can upset or completely sabotage a survivor’s economic status by interfering with access to cash, preventing her from going to work, or interfering with childcare arrangements. In a recent blog, White House Advisor on Violence against Women Lynne Rosenthal estimated that more than 8 million paid days of work are lost each year because of domestic violence.

Some cities and states have taken steps that assist in survivors’ ability to maintain their financial footing. These include “sick and safe” time-off laws that provide paid protected time off for survivors for counseling, legal assistance, medical attention and expanded unemployment insurance provisions. Public-private partnerships are working to raise awareness on broader community and workplace impacts. And the White House has taken key actions in the past few years, including calling on federal agencies to address issues related to domestic violence on the federal workforce and launching broad-reaching campaigns such as 1is2many and It’s on Us.

During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are reminded that millions of women still experience domestic violence every year, and violence against women touches all of us – in our personal lives, in our communities, in our schools and even where we work.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please get help by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visiting www.thehotline.org.

Latifa Lyles is the director of the Women’s Bureau.

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