Why Workplaces Should Respond to Domestic Violence

April 10, 2019

 

 

 

Domestic violence is when a person intentionally inflicts violence, threatens, forces, intimidates or manipulates, a spouse, partner, or family member. Domestic violence is often perceived to happen, behind the closed doors of low income homes. However, statistics show, anyone can experience domestic violence regardless of their; class, age, ethnicity, race, sexuality, religion, or disability and it can happen anywhere… including the workplace!

 

44%  of U.S. working adults, say they have experienced the effects of domestic violence in the workplace.

 

50% of survivors, say they were stalked and harassed by their abuser while at work.

 

96% of employed domestic violence survivors, have experienced issues at work due to their experienced abuse.

 

8 million days of paid work are lost yearly, as a result of intimate partner violence crimes.

 

70% of workplaces in the U.S. do not have formal policies that address workplace violence.

 

 

Domestic violence can severely impact a workplace in the following ways:

 

1. Productivity and a victims attendance can severely drop after they have been attacked

2. Other employee’s safety in the workplace can be compromised.

 

Workplace attacks are never completely avoidable, because there is often a possibility that the offender is a fellow employee of the victim, or a close personal connection whom knows where they work. However, there are explicit steps companies can take to protect their employees, and in turn; reduce absenteeism, turnover rates, healthcare costs, and legal risks. Here are two compelling reasons why companies should invest in and put Domestic Violence policies in place.

 

 

1) Safety

 

When a survivor decides to take action (as they should) and report a domestic violence situation, their workplace is commonly the easiest place for an abuser to find, harass, threaten, or harm them. In this case, domestic violence can now be considered as much of a threat to the employer and fellow employees, as it is to the victim. Therefore, when domestic violence follows a survivor to work, it becomes a workplace issue.

 

It is no secret that many workplaces will not implement Domestic Violence policies until there is a prevalent issue at hand. As one can guess, ‘after the fact action’ is often times too late. Additionally, not having a preventative policy in place, leaves a company vulnerable and says to employees that their company is not prioritizing their safety. Additionally, limited dialogue and preventive action around domestic violence can leave victimized employees hesitant and scared to disclose their domestic violence situation to others. This barrier between the survivor, and those in a position to provide valuable support and assistance, is unacceptable. It is important for employers to recognize that the workplace may be the only place a survivor can learn about, and access resources such as; social services, shelters or counseling safely. Therefore, creating a “safe place” for your victimized employees is crucial.