Seattle – (October 1, 2020) – The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) and the Human Services Department (HSD) mark the month of October as a time to remember victims and survivors of abuse and exploitation; to raise awareness about violence and its effect on families and communities; and acknowledge and highlight those working to end gender-based violence.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in domestic violence reports, as we have had to separate from our families and friends to stop the spread of this deadly pandemic. While physical distancing can keep communities safe from the virus, it has also kept domestic violence survivors shut in with their offenders. We can still be a lifeline during this unprecedented time, remember to check in on your neighbors who may be suffering abuse in silence. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that we help those who may be suffering by raising our voices and awareness.Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
In addition to sick leave, Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance provides workers with paid leave for absences that result from critical safety issues arising from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. New PSST COVID-19 amendments also require employers with employees in Seattle to provide paid leave when their family member’s school or place of care has been closed.
We all have a responsibility to take steps to end gender-based violence. Our workplaces play an important role in a survivor’s physical safety and financial security when they ensure access to paid safe leave for absences related to domestic violence and sexual assault. This month, we take this moment to increase awareness about resources and legal protections, like Paid Sick and Safe Time, that enable survivors to seek the assistance they need.OLS Interim Director Jeneé Jahn
In Washington State, 41 percent of women and 32 percent of men report experiencing violence from an intimate partner. The City of Seattle invests more than $10 million annually in community-based programing focused on gender-based violence outreach and education, prevention and advocacy, therapeutic services and counseling, shelter and housing, and offender accountability programming. Through these investments, HSD and partners support more than 10,000 survivors each year.
While domestic violence does not discriminate, language barriers, lack of culturally relevant services, threats of deportation, and fear of isolation put marginalized communities at an increased risk of experiencing gender-based violence. Women of color and Native women are two-to-three times more likely to experience a gender-based, violence-related fatality than their white counterparts.
Domestic violence impacts individuals from all genders, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Seattle Human Services is proud to partner with more than 30 diverse service providers to increase access for all survivors with the “no wrong door” approach to advocacy.Lan Pham, HSD Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Manger
Join the City of Seattle in honoring the victims and survivors of domestic violence by wearing purple every Thursday during October. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Seattle City Hall lights and the Columbia Center office building downtown will go purple to recognize #PurpleThursday.
The issue of domestic violence is widespread and thrives when we are silent. With so many of us working or supporting community from home this year, OLS and HSD’s Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are inviting everyone to wear purple on Thursday, October 22, in solidarity with survivors of domestic violence. Post a photo, hold a sign, or share a personal story if you are comfortable, and use the social media hashtag #PugetSoundPurpleThursday.