You may not think that domestic violence (DV) is an issue for your company or security department to deal with. Unfortunately, it has become a significant security risk issue to handle. While we can’t stop it, we can help to mitigate the injuries and damage done to both the victim and company.
There are a few steps that can be taken to minimize injury to the victim and lessen the liability of the business. Will these tips listed below stop every incident on company property? More than likely not, but if you follow these few tips and make your own action plan, then you will be making a start on helping an incident be prevented.
Physical injury will be what a victim suffers from outwardly. However, it is the psychological trauma that can, and more than likely will, follow them for the rest of their lives. I’m sure that none of us wish for that to happen to a co-worker or friend, in or out of the business. Here are some tips and ideas to get the ball started on assisting the victims in making them feel safe, at least at work. It will also help you to begin building trust and confidence, or more of it, in you and the company, enabling employees to come forward with personal issues such as DV.
- Listening and actually believing that the employee may be abused
If the victim is male or the male abuser is ‘charming, suave, and debonair…’ it may be hard to believe. But unless an actual investigation is undertaken by the police or other such agency… which is where the trust and confidence in you comes into play.
- Looking for the signs of abuse, even if they deny it
These are innumerable in their own right so it is imperative that you or a member of your staff learn to recognize them. Sometimes they are not so easily spotted:
Long sleeves, slacks, and/or turtle necks in summer
Constantly wearing sunglasses
Jumpier than they would normally be
While discussing their bruises they joke about their clumsiness
Constantly coming into work with minor injuries
Becoming a loner and staying quiet when the opposite had been true
Alienating friends both at work and elsewhere
Frequent unsettling phone calls either on company phone or their cell
Of course there are numerous other signs of abuse. Contact a local domestic abuse shelter and get as much information as you can to disseminate to employees.
- Security procedures to protect them at work
This is where your expertise as a security professional comes into play. You know when and where you can do little things to pump up the security program to make the facility more secure and keep anyone out who isn’t authorized:
If possible, issuing a photo of the abuser and keeping them off the property
Ensuring that all doors are secured with no exceptions for ‘just this once’
Issuing strict orders that no one is allowed to tailgate, follow behind another employee, into the building
Adapting high visibility of security in and around the facility
Ensuring that surveillance doesn’t become slack for as long as necessary
Never allowing an attitude of ‘I know them we’ll do it just this once’
Having your security officers, or supervisor, escort the employee when necessary
While these may be standard practice they need to be reiterated and strictly enforced. There are other procedures that you can tweak to protect one employee as well.
- Employee Assistance programs (EAP).
The necessary references to resources to help them, including shelters. This may be up to an EAP provider; however you need to find one to allow your employees to utilize them. They may not be cheap, but the only other recourse you may have is to keep a list of resources with HR and/or publish it for the taking.
- Can you provide any legal, security, or spiritual assistance?
Don’t let your legal department tell you that you are treading on thin ice and you can’t do this figure a way around it. If necessary refer them to the EAP for these items, especially legal and spiritual but security is our responsibility. Taking care of people is also a moral imperative.
- Can you provide a certain amount of compassionate, paid, leave?
In other words can you give the employee time off to take care of legal issues, court dates, children, and so on. It may take some jiggling of your companies financial resources to do this but it is worth it most of the time. You can’t jettison an employee because they are having DV issues or as a result of DV. Going along with this is not counting their absences against them during this time, which according to policy could get them fired.
An example of this may be old but I really doubt corporate policies/procedures have radically changed since the early 90s; an employee took leave to care for his young son who was dying of leukemia. When he returned to work he was disciplined for having let his job performance suffer because of his son’s illness and then burying his 6-year-old. He shot and killed several managers, union reps, & supervisors in the termination meeting a week later.
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, facebook.com/oneistooomany, or twitter@robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear