Wake-up Call to Businesses: Domestic Violence
Doesn't Stay At Home When an Employee Goes to Work
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -
You may not know it, but a silent epidemic
could be affecting your workforce.
As an employer or supervisor, these facts from Blue Shield Against Violence should
alarm you: Thirty-one percent of American women report being physically
or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their
lives. Most victims don't tell
anyone about it, which makes it likely that
the percentage is even higher. In
fact, violence between intimate partners
is so prevalent that -- although you might not recognize it -- members
of your workforce may be struggling with domestic violence.
What you may find even more startling is the fact that domestic violence doesn't
stay at home when an employee goes to work.
"The effects of domestic violence spill-over into the workplace," says
Marianne Balin, who coordinates
Blue Shield Against Violence, Blue Shield of California's workplace awareness program.
"It affects productivity, creativity,
attendance and morale. And it
affects your bottom line."
A safe, supportive work environment will protect both the health of your employees
and your business. Cutting edge
companies like Blue Shield of California,
Bell Atlantic Mobile and others have already implemented domestic violence
policies and practices that are making a tremendous difference to their
"We began to educate our employees and supervisors about domestic violence four
years ago and were surprised at how many employees came forward to ask for
help or tell their stories," says Balin.
"By creating an environment in which employees feel safe and supported, we are able to manage
cases instead of crises."
There are four steps every company can take:
1. Educate -- increase awareness by training employees and managers about
2. Flex -- ensure human resource policies allow flexible opportunities that
support abused employees. For
example, support the use of family medical leave so victims can access social
and legal services that will make them safe.
3. Refer -- provide on-site information about community services, so victims
have a place to turn.
4. Secure -- have an organized response to direct threats of domestic violence
in the workplace.
Domestic violence is a workplace issue, but too many companies have yet to address
it. The business community has a
vital role to play in reducing the impact
of domestic violence. For resources
in your community, call the National
Domestic Violence Hotline, (800) 799-SAFE.
To learn more about Blue Shield
Against Violence, please call (415) 229-5861.
SOURCE Blue Shield of California