Domestic Violence Awareness night

Purple ribbon pins from the Domestic Violence Awareness night at the Caldwell Night Rodeo August 2012. 

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Tardiness, absenteeism and difficulty performing a job are usually quick ways to be reprimanded by a boss or to lose a job.

They are also the effects of domestic violence on the workplace.

Victims of domestic violence lose almost 8 million paid workdays per year as a result of the abuse, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. And between 25 and 50 percent of survivors reported losing a job at least in part because of the domestic violence, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

“If they lose their job, they’re playing right into the hand of the abusive partner,” Bea Black, executive director of the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, said. “Abusive partners try to exert control and the more their partner or spouse is out of their reach … that’s really insecure for them.”

A good job creates a place where victims of abuse can form relationships and alliances with coworkers that can diminish the control the abusive partner has, she said.

“That’s one reason they (the abusive partner) will really do things to torpedo someone’s opportunity to keep a job,” she said.

If a victim of domestic violence is fired from his or her job because of the effects of the domestic violence there is no recourse to get the job back.

EMPLOYER’S ROLE

Domestic violence is a tough topic and it’s not easy for employers to discuss with their employees, Black said, even if they suspect something is going on.

The WCA works with businesses to let their management and staff know there is an organization to reach out to if they need it and how to help or get help in domestic violence situations.

“It’s not the expertise of the company, so if we can be in partnership with them and create a healthy relationship both within the workplace and help ensure support outside of work then there’s a connection there,” she said.

Black urges employers to contact the WCA at 343-3688 or call a local domestic violence hotline for advice if they suspect an employee is a victim of domestic abuse.

 

Domestic violence in the workplace

n 25 to 50 percent of domestic violence survivors report losing a job, at least in part due to the domestic violence.

  • Victims lose almost 8 million days of paid work each year because of the violence from current or former boyfriends, husbands and dates — the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity.
  • The annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is $727.8 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence is more than $5.8 billion per year. $4.1 billion of that is for direct medical and mental health services.
  • A national survey in 2005 found 21 percent of full-time employed adults were victims of domestic violence. 
  • A study found that 75 percent of domestic violence perpetrators used workplace resources to express remorse or anger toward a victim, check up on, pressure or threaten a victim.
  • A national survey in 2007 found 61 percent of American men think employers should do more to address domestic violence. 

Sources: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; National Partnership for Women and Families

 

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