How Do You Create a Domestic and Sexual Violence Policy That’s Right for Your Workplace?
New Resource Center (Funded by the Justice Department) Allows Employers to Find Answers at www.workplacesrespond.org
SAN FRANCISCO – Few companies have put in place domestic and sexual violence policies, even though there are, on average,1,300 attacks and four to five murders of women due to domestic violence each day in this country, and that violence often follows victims to work. But a new resource launched this week – Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center – now makes it easier than ever for employers to put these vitally important policies in place. The new Center was formed by a partnership of seven national organizations, led by the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) and funded by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).
Coinciding with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the groups today unveiled a new website for employers that provides information and a set of tools that have never before been available. At www.workplacesrespond.org, an employer can enter its name, location and number of employees and then go step-by-step to develop and download a workplace policy addressing stalking and domestic, sexual and teen dating violence that is right for them. A 2006 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 70 percent of U.S. workplaces do not have such policies in place.
The website also offers a quiz to test knowledge about domestic and sexual violence, fact sheets, frequently asked questions with answers, a protection order guide, safety and security information, and an interactive training component. In addition, the online Center offers components to help employers and unions assess security issues, respond safely and effectively to violence, provide referrals to community based services when violence is identified, and implement measures to prevent violence.
“We have worked extensively on workplace issues in the past, but these interactive toolsand the broad focus on all forms of interpersonal violence are unique. We are convinced that the Center provides what employers need and want,” said FVPF President Esta Soler.
“Too often in the past, employers have come to us after an employee who was a domestic violence victim is murdered at work, or a stalking victim is raped outside her workplace,” Soler added. “In these situations, employers are left to wonder what they could have done differently, and colleagues are traumatized or terrorized. With these new interactive tools, employers can act before tragedies occur, helping to prevent them and to keep workplaces safe and productive.”
The FVPF leads the Center’s partnership of seven organizations: Legal Momentum; Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and its National Sexual Violence Resource Center; the Resource Sharing Project of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault; the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence; American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, and the Victim Rights Law Center. In recent years, the FVPF and its partners have developed numerous resources to help businesses better assist victims of violence, including self-help kits for employers, model workplace policies for addressing violence, and a training program for employees, supervisors and executives.
Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center was authorized in the Violence Against Women Act of 2005. The initial, one-year, $916,000 project is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice,OVW.
The multi-disciplinary project will develop outreach, technical assistance and training programs and emphasize getting information to employers of underrepresented employees, including those who are low wage, immigrant, young, older or in other ways vulnerable.
According to a 2006 study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one in four large private industry establishments (with more than 1,000 employees) reported at least one incident of domestic violence, including threats and assaults, in the past year. Women are much more likely than men to be victims of on-the-job intimate partner homicide. A 2005 study using data from a national telephone survey of 8,000 women about their experiences with violence, found that women experiencing physical intimate partner violence victimization reported an average of 7.2 days of work-related lost productivity and 33.9 days in productivity losses associated with other activities.
The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at www.endabuse.org.