If you feel unsafe in your workplace – or if you've actually experienced abuse while at work – you're not alone.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million people were victims of workplace violence in 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available – and a significant percentage originated with domestic abuse issues.
In fact, a 1998 Family Violence Prevention Fund study of employed domestic abuse victims found that 74 percent reported harassment by their partners while they were at work.
At the Family Violence Project, we believe you deserve to live and work without fear. If you have reason to be concerned about your safety at work —or wonder if you do — call our free, confidential helpline at 1.877.890.7788.
If you're a business owner/employer please consider developing a domestic violence policy and incorporating it into your workplace. Our Domestic Violence Workplace Tool Kit, along with the assistance and training we offer, can help.
What else you can do...
If you're experiencing violence at home and are afraid it might follow you into the workplace ...
- Notify your supervisor and the human relations manager about your situation, or if you work in a small office, tell someone you trust.
- Research and discuss options available to you, like varied scheduling, escorts to and from your car, employee/family assistance benefits that could give you some independence. You could even ask about things like cutting back bushes that provide places for an abuser to hide.
- Make sure your safety manager – or a co-worker -- has a recent photo of your abuser in case he/she shows up at work
- Request that all information be kept confidential.
If you work with someone dealing with domestic violence ...
- Don't directly confront her/him; it's important to let someone tell what's going on when she feels she can.
- Express concern if someone confides in you, and a willingness to listen and help.
- Don't press for details or offer advice – these situations are complicated and you don't want to close down communication.
- Encourage you coworker to tell the human resources manager and a supervisor.
- Give him/her the Family Violence helpline number – 1.877.890.7788 .
- If you witness an incident at work, contact your safety manager or a law enforcement official immediately. Make sure you document the incident – and carefully.
If you supervise or manage someone who is experiencing domestic violence...
- Be aware of unusual absences or behavior and document them along with bruises or visible emotional distress.
- With the employee's permission, contact the human resources manager to discuss your concern, resources available and ways to support the employee – safety planning, employee assistance counseling, family resource referrals, flexible scheduling, security measures.
- If you work at a small business that doesn't have an HR department, find out what social services and legal/community resources are available.
- Maintain confidentiality at all times and be sensitive to the seriousness of the situation.
- Suggest the employee document all incidents involving the batterer that occur in the workplace and offer to help.
You can also ...
Combat domestic violence by encouraging all employees and coworkers to volunteer at – and provide financial or in-kind support – to your local domestic violence programs.