The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence stated that a recent survey found 44 percent of respondents had personally experienced domestic violence’s impact on the workplace, most frequently because a co-worker was a victim. In fact, it is estimated that the cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence equals $727.8 million annually.
Though you may not feel that you are directly affected by domestic violence, it is unfortunately a more common problem than we all think. Your co-worker may be a victim or the family member of a victim. Domestic violence can result in reduced productivity, increased medical expenses, absenteeism and heightened risk of violence at the workplace. Often times the so called “private matter” does not stay at home. When a victim attempts to leave the relationship, the workplace becomes one of the few places that the abuser can locate and harm them. The abuse can even spill into the work place when the victim is harassed by threatening phone calls or even absent because of abuse-related injuries. The abuser can stalk the workplace and use company resources to get a hold of the victim. Co-workers may even be witnesses to the abuse on the victim. Some abusers may go as far as to threaten or harass coworkers of the victim. According to the National Safe Workplace Institute Survey, 94 percent of corporate security directors surveyed rank domestic violence as a high security problem at their company
You may not feel that the subject of domestic violence applies to your workplace but it can be a wonderful place to provide help to victims and prevent associated risks. In fact, according to a Roper Starch Worldwide Study for Liz Claiborne, Inc., 66 percent believe their company’s financial performance would benefit from addressing the issue of domestic violence among their employees.
There are many things you can do in your workplace to help raise awareness on the subject and offer to help to those who may need it. Here are a few things you can do:
1. Put up posters around your workplace that display national and local domestic violence hotline numbers.
2. Have fliers available about domestic violence prevention and safety planning.
3. Invite a representative from Hubbard House, or your local domestic violence shelter, to speak to your workplace.
4. Call the police if you see or hear any signs of domestic violence.
5. Take a moment to talk to others about domestic violence and what they can do to help.
With only 4 percent of all businesses training employees on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace, you can make a tremendous difference by simply bringing up the issue and talking about it at work.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE
Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,200 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
By Marina Martin