How to Deal with Domestic Violence Issues in the Workplace


Individuals who are victims of domestic violence suffer from extreme physical, emotional and mental pain. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the likelihood of people suffering from domestic violence is one in every four women, while one in 10 men will experience it. It is reported that about 21 percent of full time employed adults claim that they suffered from an abusive relationship. The effects of the abuse that they get from their partners can be felt as well in the workplace. This makes it vital for employers to have a contingency plan on how to deal with employees that are victims of domestic violence. Here are the following things that the company consider in crafting the company’s way of dealing with domestic violence.

Establishing a Support Mechanism  
Employers need to carefully balance respecting their employee’s privacy and taking care of their well being. It would be best to encourage the employee to avoid all encounters with their abuser. This can happen if the HR representatives of a company convince employees not to  hesitate on reporting their experiences. It is best if the company could make employees feel that it is safe for them to share their domestic issues with a support group that the company can also establish.

Providing Options on How to Face the Issue
   Employers need to take note that they should still let professionals handle domestic violence cases. In case employees report to the HR head, always encourage them to seek professional legal help. It is important to keep in mind that victims of domestic abuse have an instinct to keep their abuses to themselves. If the HR representatives of the company could help their employees see the options that they have, maybe the latter could have greater confidence in seeking help. It is also important to point out to victims that aside from seeking legal help, they could also find emotional and physical comfort provided by their local government.

For example, San Diego, California has one of the highest domestic violence cases which is why it has set-up domestic violence shelters, hot lines, and legal services to cater to its residents. According to one of San Diego’s Domestic Violence Attorneys, Patrick McGrath, the city is known to be one of the most proactive places in preventing domestic abuse despite having high rates of domestic violence cases.
Often times, victims hesitate on reporting their case for fear of being unable to support themselves financially. It would be great for companies to also provide incentives such as providing legal support or giving employees the option to take an excused leave of absence for work.

Training Supervisors in Spotting Potential Victims   
Supervisors should be trained on how to identify employees who might be experiencing domestic troubles and how to deal with them. This would make it easier for companies to try to prevent the escalation of their employee’s problem.
Careful observation of employees would let supervisors notify support groups setup within the company that cater to domestic violence. Noticing signs of abuse could allow for supervisors to know how to interact with their subordinates. This would also provide a temporary relief for victims, as their work could be a safe haven for them.

Giving Out Compliant Policy    
Employers often don’t want to be involved in domestic abuse cases of their employees because of the legal and financial liabilities these could bring to the company. At the very least, companies should still be able to craft policies that would ensure the safety of their workers. They need to make sure that their employees’ abusers won’t be able to harm them or anyone in the workplace. Companies can create policies that would also protect their employers off duty so long as it is tied to their ability to work.

These are some of the major things that companies need to take into consideration in order to create policies for their employees who are victims of domestic abuse. Companies should not turn a blind eye and try to avoid responsibility for their employees.

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