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Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence

Tips for Effective Workplace Education

Tips for Effective Workplace Education

  • To get support for internal educational efforts, present a brief seminar for executive management and/or union leaders about the impact of domestic and sexual violence on the workplace.
  • Find a champion among upper management and/or union leadership that supports the importance of the need for domestic and sexual violence education or training.
  • Have executive management and/or union leaders introduce training or educational efforts to demonstrate their support for the issues.
  • Review all personnel policies and procedures, benefits, employee services and security mechanisms prior to training to determine how the training content needs to integrate or interact with these areas.
  • Involve Human Resources, any EAPs, the union if appropriate and Security Services personnel in planning for workplace education or training.
  • Adapt training content and handouts for employees whose primary language is not English and consider cultural concerns that may play a part in training on domestic and sexual violence.
  • Provide lists of referral resources during training, including service providers that reflect the diversity and geographic distribution of the workforce.
  • Consider the timing of the training. Avoid training during any major organizational changes, such as lay-offs or restructuring.
  • Make training events mandatory when feasible, especially for managers. But, allow employees who request it a chance to opt out. The training may be emotionally overwhelming for some employees who have been traumatized by violence in the past.
  • Allow employees to leave the training if necessary and have trained people (preferably domestic and sexual violence counselors) available to meet with them.
  • Keep in-person training sessions fairly small, with an upward limit of 50 employees if feasible, allowing for some questions and interaction.
  • Acknowledge any past violent events, such as the murder of an employee or workplace attacks, during the introduction to the training.
  • Be sensitive to the gender issues that surround domestic and sexual violence. Acknowledge that, although women may be more at risk, anyone may be a victim and anyone may be a perpetrator. Avoid statements that could be perceived as blaming men.
  • Provide a message of hope, combined with a practical focus on workplace needs.

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.