Preventing domestic violence in the workplace-Part 1

It doesn’t matter whether you believe domestic violence (DV) is a serious problem or not, because it is a serious problem for victims and the businesses they work for. The reason?  48% of all workplace violence (WPV) incidents begin because of it. Unwittingly the entire staff, not to mention   human resources and security, is affected by it.

The issue becomes significant for businesses, and all of us, since DV creeps into our businesses and creates chaos, havoc, & destruction on everyone, whether they witnessed it or just know someone affected by being injured, threatened, or had the s*** scared out of them.

DV produces pandemonium amongst everyone involved, both inside the business and personal lives. It can literally cause trauma for decades. If the company is made aware of the potential, and victimization of an employee, and does nothing to combat it before it starts entering the business, then they can be held liable for the injuries, including death, and devastation that can result.

A fatality doesn’t necessarily have to have occurred for it to be injurious. Especially if you tally the emotional trauma and psychological damage done to individuals. Usually you will never know who is mentally fragile until an incident occurs and then it’s too late to prevent it, and the ensuing litigation.

A couple of statistics that may bring home DV to anyone who may not have been visited by its insidious effects;

  • 48% of all 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. Most are not at work
  • Murder is the #1 cause of death for women while at work
  • 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 literally millions of DV incidents every single year. And while most DV incidents are forgotten about soon after and rarely lead to death it has the same effect on the employee (s).

Everyone gets a little distraught from time-to-time and scream at our significant others once in a while. We may even call them names that we later apologize and regret. But for some people, sometimes that anger can explode into physical contact that can hurt long after the bruises, cuts, welts, broken bones, & scratches 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 WPV 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 a business and therefore none of our stinking business? And besides it’s a personal matter. Right?

The statistics can be unsettling for some. But after you have digested and accepted them, do your own research on 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 business and its financial resources. In the next post I’ll discuss a few ways to help minimize the incident and prevent such tragedy in your business.

DV is not just a personal issue, especially when it comes into the workplace and threatens co-workers, customers, and the well-being of everyone working, shopping, or visiting. It is an issue that literally can make some employees fear for their lives, whether they are the victim, or target by association because the perpetrator will stop at nothing, no one, to kill or maim their intended victim, or not.

Emotional and psychological trauma can & will cost your business thousands. If the incident turns physical then that trauma can potentially cost your business millions and force it out of business. That will cost your employees much more than just lingering mental trauma.

Many television shows and movies have shown DV in a humorous tone. And while it can be put into a humorous light, it is seldom funny to the victim. The Honeymooners, All in the Family, & Family Guy. There was never any doubt that Ralph Kramden and Archie Bunker loved Alice & Edith, but the yelling, berating, & threats were all a part of DV.

As security and HR professionals, and human beings, we need to recognize the potential of DV to invade our work spaces and cause injury to our most valuable assets, the people who make the business run. 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 or visitor…

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his Facebook page,, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                       I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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