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Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence

Workplace Security and Safety Procedures

Threats to the workplace can come from anyone with physical or electronic access. This includes contractors, security guards, members of the public, clients, as well as employees and their friends and family.

A workplace’s security and safety procedures for all crimes should incorporate specific security and safety procedures for domestic and sexual violence and stalking. These policies and procedures should also address crimes occurring on business property, including provisions covering contractors, customers and other non-employees.

Workplace violence prevention and security concerns generally should address three areas:

(1) safety audit to prevent potential perpetrators’ access to the worksite and employees;

(2) threat assessment and workplace response with victim-employees; and

(3) responding to and dealing with the aftermath of a violent incident.

Throughout the process, the best practice is to work collaboratively with victims to ensure their safety, privacy, and autonomy are respected.1

General Workplace Safety

Employers or unions can conduct an overall safety audit of the workplace with the assistance of law enforcement or the security department.  The assessment can include, but is not limited to, questions such as:

  • Can non-employees physically enter the workplace without presenting identification or interacting with security?
  • Are employee work schedules, home and work phone numbers and addresses easily accessible?
  • Does the parking lot, and/or the path to the nearest public transportation, have adequate lighting?
  • Are there areas of the workplace where employees are isolated or alone for long periods of time?
  • Are there safety issues particular to workers who have work responsibilities outside the formal workplace?

Workplaces can take these additional steps to keep the workplace safe:

  • Conduct a safety training so employees know how to access assistance for themselves or others in case of danger.
  • Vet all employees and contractors.
  • Retain any threatening emails or voicemail messages, and record all threatening acts or behavior, in case legal action arises in the future.


  1. For more information on workplace violence prevention and strategies, see U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2004). Workplace Violence: Issues in Response. Quantico, VA: Critical Incident Response Group, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, FBI Academy. Available at See also ASIS International, (2011). Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention: American National Standard. American National Standards Institute, Inc.



Partner Organizations Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), Legal Momentum, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and its National Sexual Violence Resource Center, National Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project (RSP) of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, Victim Rights Law Center, and Stalking Resource Center: A Program of The National Center for Victims of Crime.

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Funding by US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women

This project was supported by Grant No. 2009-TA-AX-K028 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed on this site or in any materials on this site, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.