Peters 8/20

State Sen. Robert Peters (D-13th), Aug. 20

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law House Bill 3582, authored by state Sen. Robert Peters (D-13th), on Friday, expanding the Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act to give survivors of domestic, gender or sexual violence or violent crime up to 12 weeks' worth of unpaid time off a year to process the trauma.

The new law, the Victims Economic and Safety Act, also covers victims' family members. Employees must make reasonable accommodations and are prohibited against discriminating against them by way of hiring, firing, promoting, harassing and retaliating.

"Trauma can often be a life-changing experience, so victims and survivors of violent crimes and their families should be able to deal with that trauma on their own time without having to risk losing their jobs," Peters said in a statement. "Otherwise, we’re creating a situation where a person might experience serious trauma and then suffer loss of livelihood as a result."

The legislation passed with bipartisan support during the General Assembly's spring session. It goes into effect immediately.

Other bills Pritzker signed Friday provide new trauma-informed support and protection measures for K-12 students who are survivors of sexual abuse or gender-based violence, enable the state judiciary to create a Hope Card program for domestic violence survivors to carry protection order data in an easy-to-read and -carry document and create several new state committees and commissions.

"Every difficult choice and obstacle we eliminate for victims of domestic violence unlocks an opportunity for them to prioritize their safety," he said in a statement. "While our work to make Illinois a safer and more compassionate state for survivors is not done, I am heartened by the steps we have taken."

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