TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — State Senator Shevrin Jones (D-Miami/Dade) announced legislation providing employment protections for crime victims on Monday, celebrated by crime survivors across Florida.
The bill, filed on February 26, would extend critical employment protections to victims and witnesses in the wake of a violent crime, better enabling them to achieve safety and stability. In addition to extending reasonable workplace accommodations to crime survivors, the bill also includes protections to ensure that employers of crime victims are protected in the aftermath of an employee’s crime-related trauma.
SB 1838 would extend the same unemployment benefits that currently cover domestic violence victims to all victims of, and witnesses to, violent crime. It would also extend unpaid leave to violent crime victims and witnesses—enabling them to take the time they need to ensure their safety and wellness without endangering their livelihood.
“Far too often, violent crime victims must return to work within days of becoming a victim of crime or losing a loved one to violence. This often threatens their safety, compounds the trauma, and makes it more difficult for victims to get adequate medical attention, ensure their safety, bury a loved one, or access victim’s services,” said Senator Shevrin Jones. “We need to ensure that Florida crime victims receive the support they need to recover and heal.”
The support provided by this proposed legislation will be game-changing for many victims of violent crime in Florida who are not included in existing statutes. By extending protections to victims of stalking or other violent crime, and to immediate family or household members of homicide victims, Florida can help combat the trauma and instability that crime creates in families and communities.
“Victims of all types of violent crime need employment protections to ensure their safety and well-being. Having time to mourn the loss of a loved one or ensure one’s safety in the wake of a crime is essential to healing and recovery,” said Aswad Thomas, Managing Director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “We thank Senator Jones for listening to crime victims, and for ensuring that victims never have to choose between feeding their family and their personal safety.”
SB 1838 – along with the House companion bill, HB 1467, filed by Representative Felicia Robinson – is supported by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a national organization of crime survivors with 4,000 members in 10 chapters throughout Florida.