Domestic Violence Awareness at work
Whether you personally believe domestic violence is a serious problem or not, unfortunately, many times it becomes a business problem. Management, security, human resources, and unwittingly the entire staff are affected by it. 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, for nearly a lifetime. It creates chaos and causes havoc amongst everyone. The lives it ruins can literally cause trauma for decades. 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 them.
It doesn’t have to be just a fatal incident either. Think about the emotional trauma and psychological damage done to individuals who may be mentally fragile. Usually you will never know who is that fragile until an incident occurs and then it’s too late to prevent it, and the lawsuits.
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;
- 48% of all workplace violence, WPV, incidents are related to DV
- 40% of all WPV murders are related to DV
- 3–4 women are murdered by their significant other every day of the year, although most are not at work
- Murder is the #1 cause of death for women while at work
- Between 3-5 billion annually in lost productivity, absenteeism, and health care. This is probably significantly higher
A list of DV incidents, just the high profile alone, could go on for an entire library of books. There are literally millions of DV incidents every single year. And while most DV incidents are forgotten about soon after and rarely lead to death it has the same effect on the employee (s).
We all get upset from time-to-time and yell at our significant others once in a while and it does go both ways. You may even call them names that we later regret and apologize for later and in reality never meant in the first place. But for some people, sometimes that anger can explode into physical contact that can hurt long after the bruises, cuts, welts, & scratches would have healed.
As for the statistics mentioned above of 3-4 women are killed every day by their significant other. This is the same number that was killed during workplace violence incidents every day in the 90s. 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 and therefore none of our business? And besides it’s a personal matter. Right?
The statistics can be unsettling for some. But after you have digested and accepted them as fact, the next question is how can you protect your employees from a DV and WPV incident? For both victims and co-workers alike. It’s more than just protecting the business and its financial resources. In the next post I’ll discuss a few ways to help minimize the incident and prevent a tragedy in your business.
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 working or shopping. It is an issue that literally can make some employees fear for their lives, whether they are the victim, or target by association, or not.
Emotional and psychological trauma will cost your business thousands. If the incident turns physical then that trauma can potentially cost your business millions and force it out of business. That will cost your employees much more than just lingering mental trauma.
Many television shows and movies have shown DV in a humorous tone. 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 all a part of DV.
As security and HR professionals we need to recognize the potential of DV to invade our work spaces and cause injury to our most valuable assets, the people who make the business run. Those injuries 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 33 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