How to break the misconceptions & silence about domestic violence
(This is a reposting of a prior post - Why domestic violence victims don't leave - with some updated links)
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” -- that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence. Leslie Morgan Steiner is a writer and outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic violence -- which includes herself
For a transcript and alternate source of the video, see this on the TED talk site.
Employers have a key role in curbing domestic violence
From a prior post on the topic, we note that because we spend so much time at work, colleagues and supervisors are often in a unique position to spot signs of domestic violence and employer can often play a critical role in directing the employee to help through referrals to an EAP or other community resource. In the past, the "none of my business" type of thinking often prevailed, but today employers know that problems at home rarely stay at home. All too often, domestic abuse comes right to the workplace:
- Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.
- Of the approximately 1.7 million incidents of workplace violence that occur in the US every year, 18,700 are committed by an intimate partner: a current or former spouse, lover, partner, or boyfriend/girlfriend.
- Lost productivity and earnings due to intimate partner violence accounts for almost $1.8 billion each year.
- Intimate partner violence victims lose nearly 8.0 million days of paid work each year - the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity.
The Family Violence Prevention Fund identifies an annotated list of seven reasons why employers should address domestic violence. Here's a quick summary:
- Domestic violence affects many employees.
- Domestic violence is a security and liability concern.
- Domestic violence is a performance and productivity concern.
- Domestic violence is a health care concern.
- Domestic violence is a management issue.
- Taking action in response to domestic violence works.
- Employers can make a difference.
Some of the basic things that employers can do include:
- Instituting a workplace zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence
- Providing secure work environments
- Raising awareness of the problem by educating your employee
- Reminding employees that help is available for domestic violence
- Training managers and supervisors to be alert for potential signs of domestic abuse
- Having referral protocols and resources in place for employees who need help - preferably an EAP or a social service experienced in dealing with domestic abuse
• Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence - A National Resource Center project offers information for the benefit of those workplaces interested in providing effective responses to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking. Resources include a Workplace Policy creation tool as well as employer-specific resources on training, a guide for supervisors, resources on threat assessments and safety and security and an extensive list of other resources for employers and for victims.
• The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence - the only national organization of its kind founded by business leaders and focused on the workplace. Since 1995, the Alliance has brought together dozens of progressive companies who exchange information, collaborate on projects, and use their influence to instigate change. The mission is to aid in the prevention of partner violence by leveraging the strength and resources of the corporate community.
• For the Manager: How the Workplace can Increase Safety and Provide Support – A section from the US Office of Personnel Management’s Guide that offers advice on what to say to an employee who is faced with domestic abuse and steps you as a supervisor or manager can take to protect the employee.
• Initiating a Training Program - Verizon Wireless shares its approach to educating employees about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace via a collaborative program that is accessible, cost effective and easily transferable to various company locations.
• Domestic-Violence Policy - State Farm Insurance Co.'s policy on domestic violence defines the term and offers a number of ways the company assists its employees who are victims.
• Warning Signs for Supervisors (PDF) Blue Shield of California Foundation has prepared documents that list some warning signs -- and some of the ways a supervisor or co-worker can help -- that indicate an employee is involved in an abusive relationship.
• State Law Guides These guides track state laws and bills that can help victims of domestic or sexual violence maintain the economic security they need to address the violence in their lives
• State & Territorial Coalitions Against Domestic Violence – find resources in your state.