“I thought if it was a domestic problem, it was none of our business.”
She was a caring, compassionate human resources manager for a local company. She knew a lot about looking out for the company’s employees, but she didn’t realize she might have to protect an employee from an abusive spouse. Our in-service presentation opened her eyes.
“I didn’t realize it was our problem too. I learned domestic violence follows the victim to work.”
Just because a victim leaves home to flee an abuser doesn’t guarantee safety. The abuser knows exactly where to find that victim every day, because the victim needs that income more than ever. Nearly three out of every four domestic violence victims report that their abuser has harassed them at work.
If you’re a manager, you can take some simple steps to ensure the safety of an employee who is being abused or threatened:
- Ask the victim what changes you can make so he or she will feel safer. The victim knows the perpetrator better than anyone else.
- Document any abusive behaviors or evidence of abuse you may see or notice.
- Be sure the victim saves threatening email or voicemail messages. They may help with legal actions or prove that the abuser has violated a restraining order.
- Ask the employee for an emergency contact in case he or she is missing or unreachable.
- Have someone walk with the employee to the car or public transit stop, or arrange for a car pool to provide safe transportation.
- Make sure employees don’t give out any personal information to callers or visitors, because abusers often try to obtain information from co-workers.
- If possible, screen phone calls to the employee, use Caller ID, or change the phone number.
- If it’s safer for the employee to seek help during the workday (so the abuser doesn’t find out), rearrange his or her work schedule to provide that opportunity.
Simple steps, but they may save your employee’s life. Plus, they’ll make it clear to your employees that your company will not tolerate domestic violence. Want to know more ways to help? Just give us a call.
PS. You can call our Education and Outreach Coordinator to learn about ways to keep your employees safe and in-service presentations. Call Melissa at 317-386-5061.