Domestic violence is defined by a pattern of abusive or violent behaviors that a person uses to establish and maintain power and control over another. This abuse can affect intimate partners in a current or past relationship as well as family members from shared or different households. The violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological, financial or even digital. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, place of residence or socioeconomic status.
“Talking about domestic/intimate partner violence can be difficult. Bringing up personal issues with an employee can be uncomfortable and you may feel frustrated if an employee doesn’t want to take action. When you handle these concerns genuinely, it is a starting point for increasing safety in the workplace and providing support. Remember that is it not your role to be a therapist or to ‘fix’ the situation. Reaching out, showing concern and offering support can make a big difference.” -SHRM
Why it matters – from a business perspective: “1 out of every 4 women and 1 out of every 10 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the U.S., resulting in a $1.8 billion loss in productivity for employers.”
For guidance on how to talk to employees on domestic violence click here.
If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with talking to your employee reach out to HR.
If an employee does disclose to you that they are in an abusive situation, there are many ways you can offer assistance.
- Believe your employee and be supportive
- Listen carefully
- Express understanding
- Validate their feelings
- Focus on safety
- Consider others involved
- Maintain confidentiality (the best you can)
Human Resources has informational material if you would like to keep some at your location.