October 19, 2020

How Do You Handle Domestic Violence in Your Organization? Part 2

Written by Robert D. Sollars

The question now becomes, here in part 2, how do you actually handle DV in the organization? It is not just a personal matter if, or when, it comes into the organization. It is embarrassing to the employee and those associated with them. The best option to keep violence and disruptions out of your business and assist your employees is to have policies & procedures in place.

What kind of security do you need for a victim of DV? Again, this should be simple enough. Human resources, security, and management need to be alerted to the fact that an incident of DV may occur. Then, naturally, be on the look-out for an individual ‘lurking’ about in or near the building or parking lot, depending on where the organization is located.

If you have a telemarketing center in a strip mall, your pre-cautions will be different than if you’re a manufacturing plant in an industrial area or an office building with dedicated employee parking. No matter what business you have, you must be hyper-vigilant when notified.

A comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach is the best, actually the only, avenue to travel with DV. And while it may seem complicated, and it can be if you let it, The DV prevention policy can be as simple as doing what you can to protect every individual in the facility.

Trying to keep the victim’s name out of the limelight is always preferable. That may not always be possible, but you need to keep the employee as much of a ‘non-person’ as you can in your business, meaning that no one can call to either confirm or deny that the employee is there or even works at that facility. The only exception to this is if the employee gives permission for certain people to get that information. Then it’s up to HR & security to verify the identity of the person requesting it.

You will also need to take extra security precautions in the interim to ensure that any possible incident is kept off-site. Not for the company bottom line, but to keep the employee safe. While they are on-site, it is your responsibility to keep them safe & secure…from all threats. And this would also mean significant harm to others.

The first thing you actually need to consider is to encourage your employees to come to the supervisor or HR and report DV. The worst part of this situation is that the victims feel they are at fault and therefore embarrassed to tell anyone or acknowledge the problem. But you have to assure them, in any way possible that it’s okay, and they have to trust someone.

If you are fortunate to have open communication with your employees and they feel safe in trusting you, then this is the best way to prevent an incident within the organization. But the key is for them to trust you and for you not to make a huge hullabaloo, no matter the bitter complaints of other employees…about anything you put into place.

Because of the humiliation of DV, you may run into the employee who will say that it’s a “private matter” and doesn’t concern either you or the organization. The need for you to be blunt and succinct rears its forceful head to someone who probably doesn’t need it:

“It may be a private matter between you and your partner, of that there is no doubt.  But when it comes into the organization then it becomes not just a private matter but a matter that needs to be resolved and made known to management, HR, and security. It is unfortunate, for the most part, but remember we have many other employees to think about”. The health, welfare, safety, & security of everyone else depends on you. And just because someone is embarrassed, doesn’t mean you can ignore that fact, no matter their discomfort.

Another item to put some thought into is forming or hiring an Employee Assistance Program. This will help you and the victims of DV find ways to get out of that relationship, get counseling, or other things that they may need.

Will these measures stop all of it? I have no illusions that it will. Some people will continue in such a relationship for their entire lives, despite the warnings of friends, family, and even children. Some will be traumatized or disabled or worse, they could die…which then means the family and friends will forever be traumatized.

We can only do what we can do to protect our lives. If someone wishes to touch a live electrical wire and refuses to trust anyone with the fact that it’s live…

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Copyright 2020 Robert D. Sollars

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