October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that sexual violence, stalking, and domestic violence are widespread in the United States among both women and men.
Given the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States, your employees, co-workers and customers or clients could be affected and need help. Employers and unions play an important role in connecting victims to assistance and addressing the workplace impact of violence.
Did You Know?
- More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (Centers for Disease Control 2011)
- The annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is $727.8 million. (Centers for Disease Control 2003)
- Nearly 33% of women killed in U.S. workplaces between 2003-2008 were killed by a current or former intimate partner. (NIOSH 2012)
For more data on domestic violence and its workplace impact, click here.
Workplaces Can Help!
With only a few small steps you can help raise awareness and connect people in your workplace to the assistance they may need:
- Put up a poster demonstrating your workplace’s commitment to addressing domestic and sexual violence and stalking. (Create a downloadable poster on our web site.)
- Put up a sign, or place cards, in bathrooms or breakrooms that indicate that there is help for victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking, and list the contact information for national and local resources. (Check our list of national resources.)
- Ask your human resource or Employee Assistance program professionals or union leadership to send an email to staff, or to make a short presentation to workers, about domestic and sexual violence and stalking, their effects in the workplace and how to seek help at work or at home. They can use our online quiz to help get the conversation started.
- Human resources or Employee Assistance Program professionals can help workers who need time off or other workplace changes to keep working and stay safe. Our interactive training tool can help them think through some of these issues.
Don’t Wait For Something to Happen
Unfortunately some workplaces experience disruptive or violent incidents or lose valued co-workers because of perpetrators of domestic or sexual violence. Many workplaces are unprepared for these events. Don’t let this happen to you! Ask your workplace to put together a comprehensive, proactive workplace program that focuses on prevention as well as response. Elements of such a program include:
- Conducting an employee needs assessment survey
- Getting buy-in from the top
- Building a multidisciplinary response team with HR, EAP, legal, security, the union and others
- Awareness raising activities
- Conducting a workplace risk/threat assessment
- Developing and implementing workplace policies/protocols
- Conducting education and training for leadership and employees
- Building relationships with community stakeholders like service providers and law enforcement
A policy addressing the workplace impact of domestic and sexual violence and stalking is an important part of this program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 70% of U.S. workplaces do not have a formal program or policy that addresses workplace violence.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!