Bill would extend protections for domestic violence victims in city of Pittsburgh | Politics | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Bill would extend protections for domestic violence victims in city of Pittsburgh

click to enlarge Bill would extend protections for domestic violence victims in city of Pittsburgh (2)
The purple ribbon is a symbol of courage and hope for domestic violence victims
Pittsburgh City Councilor Erika Strassburger plans to introduce a new legislation on Nov. 16 that seeks to grant additional protections to people working in Pittsburgh who are experiencing domestic violence. If approved, the legislation would provide nondiscrimination protections for workers within the city limits who disclosed they are experiencing domestic violence.

Strassburger worked with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, and Standing Firm, a program designed by the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, to help create the legislation.

If passed this bill would add on to protections passed in 2016 that protected domestic violence victims from housing discrimination within the city.

In a press release, Strassburger said domestic violence intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic and without legal protections or recourse in Pittsburgh, survivors of domestic violence will continue to face employment and economic insecurity.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic has exemplified, domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects many of our friends and neighbors without us realizing it,” she said.

The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice found domestic violence in the U.S. increased by 8.1% since the start of the pandemic.

President and CEO of the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Nicole Molinaro told PublicSource domestic violence would keep increasing even post-COVID.

“We’re seeing survivors who have been unable to financially save up to leave as they had planned because of a decrease in income or a loss of job,” Molinaro said in September. “Unfortunately, women are being more impacted financially by the pandemic, and we’ve seen so many women who’ve had to leave their jobs to provide the child care.”

If passed, the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations would enforce the legislation and ensure that employers receive training and information and are complying with the law.

“Anyone attempting to escape this dangerous situation should be safe from any form of discrimination that could arise, especially at their place of work," Strassburger said. "With the introduction of this legislation, survivors of domestic violence will know that their strength is valued, respected, and protected in the city of Pittsburgh.”

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