Domestic Violence Awareness
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And whether you believe it’s a serious problem or not, unfortunately, many times it becomes the problem of management, security, & HR. But why should it be, 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 even if they just know someone who was injured, threatened, or had the s*** scared out of them by a potential incident.
It can wreck & ruin lives, create chaos and havoc. The lives it ruins can literally cause trauma for decades. And if the company does nothing to combat it before it starts and enters, then they can be held liable for the death and destruction that can visit them.
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
High Profile Incidents:
- December 2012, Kansas City Chiefs Jevon Belcher committed suicide at the team’s practice facility. He had murdered his girlfriend at their home.
- Anyone remember Rae CArruth of the Carolina Panthers? He hired someone to kill his pregnant girlfriend
- March 2014 Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens knocking his girlfriend out and dragging her to their room at a hotel. And no team will now let him play
- And then Barry Bonds harassing & threatening his girlfriend in Phoenix
- Do you remember Claus Von Bulow? He ‘supposedly’ murdered his heiress wife Sunny for money
And this list could go on for an entire blog or book. The point is that these are just the high profile incidents that I can pull up at the time. There are literally hundreds, more likely millions, more. And while most DV incidents are forgotten about soon after and rarely lead to death it is the same. We all scream and yell at our significant others, calling them names that we later take back and never meant in the first place. But sometimes that anger can explode into physical contact that can hurt long after the bruises & scratches heal.
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? Is it because it happens at home and not at a business?
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 – even if they deny it
- Security procedures for an abused employee
- Assistance programs (EAP) 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 to avoid the abuser
- Extra security measures in parking lots, entrances, & such
- Recording (or ability) of phone calls on the company phone
- Surveillance of the employee, escorted or not, to and from their vehicle
- 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, and the well-being 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 and movies 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, & Family Guy. 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…
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear