Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 18, 2013
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
I’m sorry that I am late with this blog. However, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Whether you believe it or not it is a serious issue for everyone involved with either the management of a company or its security. But why should it become a problem with management or security when it’s such a personal issue and relegated to a ‘domestic’ problem not work
The issue becomes important and pertinent to us all because domestic violence can come into our businesses and create chaos, havoc, & destruction on everyone inside. Whether they are there when an incident occurs or not.
It can wreck lives, ruin lives, and basically create chaos within the walls of the business. And if the company does nothing to combat it before it starts and enters the business, then they can be held liable for the death and destruction that can visit the company.
A few statistics that may bring home DV to anyone who may not have been visited by its insidious presence before and realized its impact on the workplace;
40% of all murders in the workplace involving women are related to domestic violence
3 – 4 women are murdered by their significant others every single day of the year
Murder is the #1 cause of death for women at work
5% of all WPV is committed by someone with a connection to the worker
Between 3 – 5 billion annually in lost productivity, absenteeism, and health care
In December 2012, Kansas City Chiefs Jevon Belcher committed suicide at the team’s practice facility. Why? Because he had murdered his girlfriend at their home. He did this in front of a couple of his coaches. This shows that DV impacts the workplace more often and our lives than we may think, even if it doesn’t start at work.
As for statistics, think about the one above of 3-4 women are killed every day by their significant other. This is the same number that was killed in the workplace every day in the 90’s. We were all in such an up-roar then over that. Where is the outrage over DV because of these numbers?
So the statistics may be unsettling for some. But after they have been digested and you have accepted them the next question is how to protect your employees. For both victims and co-workers alike. It’s more than just protecting the business and its financial resources. Here are a few areas that you need to think about for DV prevention occurring in your business.
Listening and believing that the employee may be abused
Looking for the signs of abuse
Security procedures for an abused employee
Assistance programs for an abused employee
Legal, security, & spiritual help for the employee (don’t let legal tell you that you can’t)
Ease of transferring of employees to different shifts or locations
Extra security measures in parking lots, entrances, & such
Recording (or ability) of phone calls on the employees phone
Privacy of the employee if they are abused (should be limited to a ‘need to know’ basis)
DV is not just a personal issue, especially when it comes into the workplace and threatens co-workers, customers, employees, and the wellbeing of everyone there. It is an issue that literally can make some employees fear for their lives, whether they are the victim or not.
Many television shows have shown DV in a humorous situation. And while it can be put into a humorous light, it is seldom funny to the victim. The Honeymooners, All in the Family, & more recently Family Guy (Halloween episode in 2011 entitled Screams in Silence). There was never any doubt that Ralph Kramden and Archie Bunker loved their wives, but the yelling, berating, & threats were DV.
As security and HR professionals we need to recognize the potential of DV to invade our work spaces and cause injury. And the injury will typically not just be relegated to the abused employee. Many times it will spill over to co-workers – and if it’s a customer…
RESOURCES & RELATED ARTICLE BRIEFS:
How Awareness and Communication Improve Workforce Protection
Security Magazine (10/13)
Violence in the workplace is a greater issue in the United States than elsewhere in the world, says Paul N. Whelan, a senior manager at global staffing provider Kelly Services who is focused on preventing workplace violence. The definition of “workplace violence” involves confrontations and verbal arguments. “The key is to understand what can lead to violence and mitigating the risk from there,” Whelan says. “Is an employee not being paid correctly? Is there inappropriate banter about emotionally charged issues (religion or politics)?” Domestic abuse also may impact a workforce, says Barry Nixon, founder of the National Institute for the Prevention of Workplace Violence. Managers should be aware that arguments conducted over the phone, over email, or in person could impact the whole staff, and should establish plans and suggestions for troubled employees. Nixon suggests that companies implement a post-hire questionnaire, including a domestic violence section, to help them gain up-front information about an employee’s situation for future use among enterprise security executives. A company’s level of involvement can change public opinion and save lives. For example, many U.S. taxi companies were plagued by workplace violence, but major changes in operations, including the addition of security cameras, GPS, instant communication, and credit-card offerings instead of operating On an all-cash basis, have helped decrease the homicide rate of taxi drivers. Whelan recommends that firms use a top-down approach to building a workforce protection policy, and that enterprises of all sizes partner with local law enforcement and trained personnel or security officers. Firms also should gain certifications and training through security organizations and read security-industry publications for points of reference for solutions and information.
The National Center for Victims of Crime:
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
New California Law Requires Employers to Make Security Accommodations for Domestic Violence Victims
Security InfoWatch (10/16/13) Herdt, Timm
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Oct. 11 that will require employers to make security accommodations for employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Under the new law, employers will be prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their status as a victim of any of these crimes, and will be forbidden from taking adverse actions against or
terminating an employee because of that status. Employers will also be required to accommodate some employee requests for increased security, such as changing a telephone extension to guard against potential harassing phone calls. However, the law does not require employers to accommodate any requests that would create an undue hardship on the operation of the business. Workers seeking the protection of the law will be required to notify their employers of their status by providing documentation, such as a court order, police report, or a letter from a medical provider or victim’s advocate. The law is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.
Special thanks to Danielle Collinwood of the Mesa (AZ) Family Advocacy Center who helped with the links and organizations included above.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 125 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 20 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Let him do this for you as well. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit the website at;
www.Facebook.com/One is too Many