Domestic Violence and the Workplace

Womanshelter/Compañeras offers consulting and training services to employers seeking to develop workplace policies that enhance safety and help retain valued employees. An employer’s response to domestic violence within the workplace should specifically address the unique circumstances of his or her individual company.

Womanshelter/Compañeras’ experienced staff provides onsite manager/staff training and policy development, as well as victim intervention assistance to local employers. To speak with a staff person about training for your company call (413) 538-9717.

The Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence conducted statewide hearings in 2001 to determine the tangible economic impact of this issue on both victims and employers. The published report contained the following:

  • Each year, domestic violence costs businesses $3 billion to $5 billion in diminished productivity and increased health costs, absenteeism and employee turnover (Bureau of National Affairs, “Violence and Stress: The Work/Family Connection,” 1990).
  • 96 percent of employees who were victims of domestic violence reported some type of workplace problem as a direct result of their abuse (Connie Stanley, Domestic Violence: An Occupational Impact Study, 1992).
  • Murder is the leading cause of death in the workplace for women (US Department of Justice, 1994).
  • In approximately 13,000 workplace violence incidents committed against women per year, the attackers are current or former male partners (US Department of Justice, 1994).
  • Domestic Violence is the fastest growing motive for workplace homicide (Centers for Disease Control, 1993). In addition to testifying about the effect of domestic violence on their work attendance and job performance, victims testified that abusers: stalk and harass them at work, sabotage their performance, potential and reputation, steal and forge signatures on paychecks, strip bank accounts and credit.

How Can Employers Help?

Although many employers now offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that act as a valuable resource for employees struggling with life’s difficulties and challenges, Womanshelter/Compañeras is unique in our ability to offer comprehensive assistance to both victims, employers and coworkers. We have the expertise to assess the dangerousness of individual situations. Some behaviors by batterers may provide indicators that can only be identified by experienced counselor/advocates. With 22 years of service, Womanshelter can propose options for both the employee and employer to assist in keeping the workplace safe. Womanshelter/Compañeras works with employers to develop a work environment that encourages victims to disclose violence before that violence claims their lives or threatens the safety of coworkers. Our consulting work includes:

  • Providing a session for all employees on the dynamics of intimate partner violence and methods to assist their coworkers.
  • Workshop for senior management on recognizing signal that may indicate that an employee is a victim of abuse.
  • Assistance with individually- tailored policy development that will result in increased employee performance, retention and a safer work environment.
  • On-site emergency intervention with victims as requested to provide support and safety planning.
  • To speak with a staff person about how we can assist your company call (413) 538-9717.