National Stalking Awareness Month: Economic Impacts of Stalking

National Stalking Awareness Month: Economic Impacts of Stalking

This January marks the 15th observance of National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking continues to affect nearly one in six women and more than one in 19 men in the United States in their lifetime. Research shows that the economic effects of stalking on survivors are long-lasting.

1 in 6 (1)

Financial Burden

The financial impacts of stalking are significant and often devastating. Victims of stalking report higher rates of on-the-job harassment, indirect job disruption, and indirect job performance interference than other victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), commonly resulting in lower productivity and lost wages. In addition, victims often incur a number of costs due to property damage and safety seeking measures. A number of studies examine the financial burden of stalking:

  • Analysis of one nationwide survey of stalking victimization found that forty percent of stalking victims lost five or more days of work.
  • Another study found nearly one in four victims (24.4 percent) experienced property damage in conjunction with stalking.
  • Three in 10 stalking victims accrued out-of-pocket costs such as attorney fees, damage to property, child care costs, moving expenses, or changing phone numbers.
  • Another study that interviewed 187 women who were recent stalking victims in south-eastern Pennsylvania found these victims incurred an median of $1,000 in costs (in 1998 dollars) due to moving expenses, losses in salary or having to forfeit tuition, property damage, legal fees, and taking measures to increase personal security.

1 in 4 (1)

The economic costs of stalking are compounded by the economic inequalities faced by specific populations, increasing vulnerability and limiting opportunities to seek safety and justice. For instance:

  • In 2015, Black women earned 61.2 percent and Hispanic women earned 56.3 percent of White men’s median annual earnings.
  • Women of color also saw large declines in median annual earnings from 2004-2014–Black women by 5.0 percent and Hispanic women by 4.5 percent.
  • Women over the age of 65 are more likely than their male counterparts to live in poverty (11.3 percent, compared with 7.4 percent for men), and have nearly $20,000 less in annual total income than their male counterparts.
  • Almost one in five (19.7 percent) immigrant women live in poverty, compared with 14.7 percent of U.S.-born women.
  • Over one quarter (26.7 percent) of Native American women lived in poverty in 2014—the highest poverty rate among all racial/ethnic groups of women.

Next Steps

As advocates raise awareness during National Stalking Awareness Month, it is critical to look forward at ways we can continue to support those affected by stalking.

  • Service providers can increase outreach by developing resources and programs to address the gap in public knowledge regarding how to identify stalking and how to access safety. Because stalking victims often need more financial support to relocate, service providers can establish flexible financial funds and build relationships with security companies and housing providers.
  • Educational institutions including universities, schools, job training programs, and employers should have a clear policy on stalking that defines stalking behaviors and outlines victim reporting procedures and safety accommodations, such as no-contact orders, available resources for health support, and potential schedule changes.
  • Providing victims with information about Crime Victim Compensation (CVC) and economic relief in the justice system will help support their future economic recovery.

Advocates, educational institutions, and employers all play a role in supporting victims’ independence and recovery from the costs of abuse, and these groups must recognize and respond to the economic barriers and costs victims face. For more recommendations on how policymakers and communities can promote economic security among stalking victims visit IWPR’s Economic Security for Survivors Project.

 

One on One with Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director of the U.S. DOL Women’s Bureau

Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director of the Women's Bureau at the U.S. DOL

by Caroline Dobuzinskis

IWPR was honored to have Sara Manzano-Díaz as keynote speaker at a launch event at the Woodrow Wilson Center for our latest report on immigration, Organizations Working with Latina Immigrants: Resources and Strategies for Change. We also had the opportunity to interview Ms. Manzano-Díaz, the Director of the Women’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), for this blog on her work championing for the rights of working women and for families.

Ms. Manzano-Díaz’s resume includes judicial, state, and federal titles: Deputy Secretary of State for Regulatory Programs at the Pennsylvania Department of State (appointed by Governor Edward G. Rendell), Deputy General Counsel for Civil Rights and Litigation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Assistant Attorney General in New York, and a Judicial Assistant and Pro Se Attorney in the New York State Judiciary. She also served as co-chair of The Forum of Executive Women’s Mentoring Committee, which mentors young professional women as they begin their careers, and participated in Madrinas, a program that provides mentors for at-risk Latina girls to encourage them to finish high school and attend college. Ms. Manzano-Díaz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations and Communications from Boston University and a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law.

IWPR:  Please tell me about your background: What led you to pursue a degree in law?  What inspired you to pursue work in the civil service—specifically for women and families?

Sara Manzano-Díaz:  Since the age of five I envisioned myself becoming a lawyer. Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, I became the family translator at a very young age. As a result, a love for advocacy grew from that experience. I became an advocate for my own family, which fueled a passion to advocate for all working families and women. Now, I represent 72 million working women as Director of the U. S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.

IWPR:  What influence do you think the Women’s Bureau has on policy?  How does it help to empower women?

SMD:  When the law was passed in 1920 creating the office, the Women’s Bureau was given authority to formulate standards and policies that promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve safety and working conditions, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment. One of the agency’s early achievements was the inclusion of women under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which, for the first time, set minimum wages and maximum working hours.  As the advocate for women within the Labor Department, the agency was also instrumental in the development of the Family and Medical Leave Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act.

In the 21st Century, our vision and the policy direction of the program still remains one of empowering all working women to achieve economic security. That translates into preparing them for high paying jobs, ensuring fair compensation, promoting workplace flexibility as well as helping homeless women veterans reintegrate into the workforce. Empowerment of women makes the world work and strengthens the American economy.

IWPR:  What are your goals for the Women’s Bureau?

SMD:  During my tenure, I want to see the Women’s Bureau continue to make a real difference in the lives of women of all races and to help families who have suffered in this economy. Our four priorities include: equal pay, workplace flexibility, higher paying jobs for women and assisting women veterans experiencing homeless. Lucrative jobs exist for women in the skilled trades, green sector and other non-traditional industries. Our goal is to link women to occupations in high-growth and emerging industries that can move them and their families into middle class status. Later this spring, we expect to publish a guide that links women to the green job sector nationwide. Another project will help Latino women, the fastest growing female population in America, achieve financial security through a financial literacy course in Spanish.

IWPR:   The anniversary of Equal Pay Day will be on April 12th this year. How far do you think we have come since the 1963 passage of the Equal Pay Act? What do we have left to accomplish for gender equality?

SMD:  Women continue to make great strides since passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This administration supports the Pay Check Fairness Act and we are working hard every day towards economic security for women. In 1963 women earned $.59 on average for every dollar earned by men, today women earn $.81 on the dollar (based on the 2010 Census). As part of the President’s Equal Pay Taskforce, we are working to ensure that women have the tools to get fair pay in the workplace.

IWPR:  You have had a very accomplished career. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

SMD:  As an attorney, I have spent my career advocating for the voiceless. President Obama and [Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis] share that vision and passion to care for the most vulnerable members of society. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work for two historic individuals and know that the work we do will impact the lives of working class women and families. As Director of the Women’s Bureau, I get to advocate on a national scale and represent women of all ethnicities in the fight for their economic security, from rural women to single moms to homeless women veterans.

Caroline Dobuzinskis is the Communications Manager with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.