October 2, 2020

Domestic Violence Awareness at work

Written by Robert D. Sollars

Many times, domestic violence (DV) becomes a business problem, whether owners or managers believe it to be or not. Everyone, however unwittingly, within the entire organization is affected by it. But why should it be, when it’s such a personal issue and relegated to a ‘domestic’ problem not work?

It becomes pertinent to everyone inside the facility because DV creates chaos, havoc, & destruction on everyone. Whether they are there when an incident occurs or even if they just know a victim who was injured, threatened, or had the s*** scared out of them. Keep in mind also DV will impact the organization no matter where it occurs, facility, parking lot, or even at home.

It can wreck & ruin lives for a lifetime. It creates chaos and causes havoc amongst everyone. The lives it ruins can literally cause trauma for decades. If an organization does nothing to combat it before entering the facility, then they can be, and probably will be, held criminally/civilly liable for the destruction that follows.

Contrary to popular belief, to most including law enforcement & the media,

it doesn’t necessarily have to be a fatality either. Emotional & psychological trauma afflicting 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 litigation.

A few statistics that may bring home to anyone who may not have been visited by DV;

  • 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 millions of DV incidents every year, growing at an exponential rate since we started the coronavirus lockdowns in March (in the Phoenix area there has been an increase of 140% increase in DV calls). 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, going both ways, when you get upset at to some degree. 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 our organization, therefore none of our business? And besides, it’s a personal matter. Right?

The statistics can be unsettling. 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 organizations and financial resources.

DV is not just a personal issue, especially when it comes to the organization and threatens everyone there. It is an issue that literally can make 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 organization millions, forcing it to close. That will cost your employees much more than just lingering mental trauma.

As professionals in charge of protecting others, we need to recognize the potential of DV to invade our organizations and cause injury to…everyone. 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…

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Copyright 2019 Robert D. Sollars

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