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Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence

Impact of Violence and the Workplace

Impact on Survivors, Family & Friends

Domestic, sexual, and dating violence, and stalking, impact victims/survivors, family members, friends, communities, and co-workers. Each victim/ survivor reacts to violence in her/his own unique way, but common reactions include but are not limited to: fear, denial, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and thoughts of suicide.

Personal style, culture, and context of the survivor's life may shape her/his reactions. Some victims/survivors share their experience right away; others prefer to keep their feelings private. As friends, co-workers, and others related to survivors try to make sense of what happened, they may experience similar reactions and feelings to those of the survivor.

Impact on Workplace

Violence affects the workplace in a number of ways. Absenteeism, impaired job performance, and loss of experienced employees are only some of the costs that companies bear as a direct result of violence.

Toll on Productivity

  • A 2005 study using data from a national telephone survey of 8,000 women about their experiences with violence, found that women experiencing physical intimate partner violence victimization reported an average of 7.2 days of work-related lost productivity and 33.9 days in productivity losses associated with other activities.1
  • About 130,000 victims of stalking in a 12-month period from 2005 to 2006, reported that they were fired or asked to leave their job because of the stalking. About one in eight employed stalking victims lost time from work because of fear for their safety or because they needed to get a restraining order or testify in court. More than half these victims lost five days or more from work.2
  • A 2005 study of female employees in Maine who experienced domestic violence found that: 98 percent had difficulty concentrating on work tasks; 96 percent reported that domestic abuse affected their ability to perform their job duties; 87 percent received harassing phone calls at work; 78 percent reported being late to work because of abuse; and 60 percent lost their jobs due to domestic abuse.3
  • In a 2005 telephone survey from the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, 64 percent of the respondents who identified themselves as victims of domestic violence indicated that their ability to work was affected by the violence. More than half of domestic violence victims (57 percent) said they were distracted, almost half (45 percent) feared getting discovered, and two in five were afraid of their intimate partner's unexpected visit (either by phone or in person).4

Costs

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking totaled $5.8 billion each year for direct medical and mental health care services and lost productivity from paid work and household chores. Of this, total productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion in the United States in 1995.5  When updated to 2003 dollars, the cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking is more than $8.3 billion.6  And in 2010 dollars, it would be considerably more. Much of these costs are paid for by the employer.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is $727.8 million (in 1995 dollars), with more than 7.9 million paid workdays - the equivalent of more than 32,000 full time jobs - lost each year.7
  • The Tennessee Economic Council on Women estimates that domestic violence costs Tennessee approximately $174 million per year. This 2006 report considers costs in lost wages, productivity, sick leave, absenteeism and costs to the medical, legal and social services systems.8

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  1. Arias I, Corso P. 2005. Average Cost Per Person Victimized by an Intimate Partner of the Opposite Gender: a Comparison of Men and Women. Violence and Victims, 20(4):379-91.
  2. Baum, Katrina, Catalano, Shannan, Rand, Michael and Rose, Kristina. 2009. Stalking Victimization in the United States. U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. Available at: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/docs/stalking-victimization.pdf
  3. Ridley, E, Rioux, J, Lim, KC, Mason, D, Houghton, KF, Luppi, F, Melody, T. 2005. Domestic Violence Survivors at Work: How Perpetrators Impact Employment. Maine Department of Labor and Family Crisis Services. Available at: http://mainegov-images.informe.org/labor/labor_stats/publications/dvreports/survivorstudy.pdf
  4. CAEPV National Benchmark Telephone Survey. 2005. Bloomington, IL: Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. Available at: http://www.caepv.org/getinfo/facts_stats.php?factsec=3
  5. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2003. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/IPVBook-a.pdf
  6. Max, W, Rice, DP, Finkelstein, E, Bardwell, R, Leadbetter, S. 2004. The Economic Toll of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Violence and Victims, 19(3) 259-272.
  7. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2003. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/pub-res/ipv_cost/IPVBook-Final-Feb18.pdf
  8. Tennessee Economic Council on Women, The Impact of Domestic Violence on the Tennessee Economy: A Report to the Tennessee General Assembly, January, 2006.

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.