Domestic violence is not a problem confined to the home. The traumatic effects suffered by victims of domestic violence can often impact their employment. The U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that intimate partner violence results in nearly 8 million days of paid work and productivity being lost nationwide each year.
Victims may miss work for a variety of reasons, including infliction of physical injuries, lack of transportation, depression, fear that their abuser will harass them at the workplace, etc. They may also fear discussing the abuse with employers and co-workers out of shame and embarrassment. Ultimately, the actions of abusive people can adversely affect safety and security at your organization, employee health care costs, and the job performance of the victim.
Creating a safe, non-judgmental and inviting work environment for victims of domestic violence is beneficial not only to the victim, but to the organization as a whole. There are some simple things that you can do as an employer to help victims of domestic violence working at your organization.
- Be alert about possible signs of abuse, such as: increased and unexplained absences, a decline in performance, lack of concentration, unexplained bruises or injuries
- Listen and ask questions in a non-judgmental, supportive manner
- Place brochures about domestic violence in your Human Resources office, restrooms and employee break room
- Include resources, such as Connecticut’s statewide, toll free domestic violence hotline (888) 774-2900 in your employee newsletter or other employee correspondence
- Participate in fundraisers for your local domestic violence agency and let your employees know that you are supporting the agency’s efforts
Also, you can easily develop a Model Workplace Policy using a simple online tool created by Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence – A National Resource Center. A model policy establishes guidelines for workplace responses to victims/survivors of violence, as well as perpetrators of violence. An employer can adopt a workplace policy as part of its commitment to a healthy, safe organizational climate and to the prevention and reduction of the incidence and effects of domestic violence.
- Learn more about the Model Workplace Policy
- Use the interactive tool to create your own workplace policy. It only takes 15-20 minutes and will enhance employee safety!
Visit Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence to learn more about domestic violence and the workplace.
Finally, if you are concerned that one of your employees is a victim of domestic violence and you want to speak with an advocate to learn specific tips for talking with that person, please contact your local domestic violence agency by calling the statewide, toll-free domestic violence hotline at (888) 774-2900.
And check back here for additional downloadable resources as CCADV will be developing employer-specific awareness materials over the next year!