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Few Executives Realize Employees Face Abuse

Nov 1, 2008

Seven in ten corporate executives do not perceive domestic violence to be a major issue at their companies, and nearly two in three believe its impact in their workplace is minimal – yet one in four female employees identifies as a victim or survivor of domestic violence, and 22 percent say that they have worked with a colleague who was a victim.

Those are among the findings from two new surveys, Corporate Leaders on Domestic Violence and America’s Workforce on Domestic Violence, commissioned by Safe Horizon, the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) and Liz Claiborne Inc. They find that, while corporate executives estimate that just six percent of their full-time employees are victims of domestic violence, employees guess that 18 percent of full-times employees are victims.

Executives do, however, believe that domestic violence is a major problem in our society and recognize that violence in the home negatively affects a company’s bottom line.

Change in Attitudes
Executives’ attitudes have changed since 1994 when Liz Claiborne conducted a similar survey. The current survey finds that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of corporate executives agree that domestic violence has a harmful effect on insurance and medical costs while, in 1994, only 44 percent did. More executives also realize it affects employee turnover – the current survey finds that 45 percent say domestic violence affects turnover while, in 1994, only 26 percent said it effected turnover.

“Society has made great strides in recognizing domestic violence as a critical issue – it’s now time for people to realize that domestic violence not just affects working life, but is a workplace issue,” says CAEPV Executive Director Kim Wells.

Other findings:

  • Fifty-eight percent of CEOs and 41 percent of employees are aware of employees/co-workers affected by domestic violence.
  • Only 13 percent of executives say corporations should play a major role in addressing domestic violence, while 84 percent of employees say that businesses must be a part of the solution.
  • Seventy-two percent of executives say their companies offer programs and services that address domestic violence but less than half of employees (47 percent) are aware of this fact.

More information on the survey is available at www.caepv.org/about/program_detail.php?refID=34.

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