SPRINGFIELD – Every year, there are an estimated 293,000 incidents of sexual assault in the United States. Shockingly, nearly 70 percent of these assaults are not reported to the police.

For survivors, the process of recovering and confronting an accuser can be an arduous process.

“Sadly, we know most sexual assault and domestic abuse cases don’t make it through the court system,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “For those that do, the process can take a huge emotional and psychological toll on a survivor.”

Hutchinson led the Senate earlier this year in passing House Bill 4036, which expands protections for domestic and sexual assault survivors by ensuring employees have access to unpaid time off from work to recover. Many survivors need time to obtain help from victim services organizations, receive counseling or seek legal assistance after an attack. Having steady income and purpose after surviving an attack can be an important part of the healing process.

“It is very difficult for survivors to go after the justice they deserve if they are not able to take time off from work,” Hutchinson said.

House Bill 4036 was signed into law today by the governor and takes effect on January 1, 2017.

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