Posts Tagged help for domestic violence

Do You Have a Domestic Violence Plan in Your Workplace?

What to do When an Employee is Involved in a Domestic Violence Situation

domestic violenceYou may think of domestic violence as a private issue, one that happens after-hours and at home. This perception, which may seem reasonable at first glance, may be making it possible for an employee to remain in an abusive situation. Domestic violence doesn’t always stay at home; it can follow the victim and has a ripple effect on every part of his or her life.

As an employer, you may wonder how or when to intersect into the world of your employees’ private lives. Where’s the line that tells you when to stop pushing for information, that line that can come with legal and other consequences? It can be difficult, but there’s good reason for you to have a conversation with an employee that you suspect is a victim of domestic violence.

You don’t have to be an expert. In fact, you should leave the counseling to professionals. Instead, you should have a simple plan in place that includes the following elements:

  • Events that happen outside the workplace
  • Security related to the events
  • Violations of a workplace agreement
  • Non-actionable conduct that is disrupting the workplace

Part of your plan should include having information about referral organizations, so that if you learn of a domestic violence situation, you are already prepared with resources.

It’s also important to have buy-in from your executive team, so when you are creating a domestic violence policy, invite members from various departments to participate in creating the plan.

You can offer comfort. It’s important to include a few points in your conversation with an employee that’s involved in a domestic violence situation:

  • Let them know that you believe what they tell you, and be careful not to offer any statements that include judgment.
  • Talk with the employee about what changes could be made to the workplace to make them feel safer.
  • Refer your employee to a service that offers qualified counseling and practical help, including a temporary place to stay.
  • Talk with the security staff to see what can be done to help your employee feel safer at work.

A domestic violence plan benefits your company, too. With all the potential legal problems that come with looking into a domestic violence situation, you may still be reluctant to dive into your employees’ private lives. You should know, though, that when partner violence is not addressed, your company pays a price, too. The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence missed nearly 8 million days of paid work each year, resulting in $1.8 billion in lost productivity.

It’s likely to come up. In case you’re thinking your company doesn’t have any domestic violence threatening your employees, consider this: The Society for Human Resource Management research indicates that 21 percent of adults with full-time employment reported being victims of domestic violence, and 16 percent of organizations report having a domestic violence incident within the past five years.

To learn more about domestic violence and the resources available for your employees, visit the YWCA of St. Joseph. We offer housing, counseling and other help for victims of domestic violence in the region. Call us today for more information.

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Why It’s Hard to Leave: The Complicating Factors of Domestic Violence

5 Things You Should Know About Domestic Violence

domestic violenceDomestic violence affects one in three women and one in four men in the United States. In addition, 15 percent of all violent crimes involve intimate partner abuse. It’s common for concerned loved ones to wonder, “Why won’t they just leave?” It’s difficult to imagine why someone would stay in a home where their safety is threatened.

If you’ve never been in a domestic violence situation, it’s hard to grasp the complexity of the factors that impact a victim of domestic violence. Here are five facts you need to know to better understand your loved one’s situation:

It happens every nine seconds. Domestic violence is common, and every nine seconds a person experiences intimate partner abuse with a total of 10 million people being abused by their partner each year. There are more than 200,000 calls come in to domestic violence hotlines yearly.

It affects men, too. While women are the primary victims of domestic violence, coming forward to report abuse can be complicated for men in different ways than for women. Men are often stigmatized for their situation and ridiculed because they are being victimized by their partner.

Victims often face the blame. Real-life situations are more complicated than what’s often depicted on television, and people often blame a victim for provoking their partner.

Leaving isn’t easy. Victims of domestic violence are often encouraged to just leave, but it’s often a decision that affects many things. They may fear the loss of financial support from their partner, or if there are children involved, they grieve their child’s loss of relationship with their other parent. Also, no matter how dysfunctional the relationship is, the victim may focus on how their partner is when they are not abusing them and keep talking themselves out of leaving. It’s important to recognize that leaving doesn’t guarantee that the violence will end; in fact, the victim’s risk of being seriously injured or killed increases when they are preparing to leave or have recently left the abuser.

What to do if someone you know is in a domestic violence relationship. Think about it. If a friend called you today in a domestic violence crisis, do you know how to help them connect with the right services and get help? Try these steps:

  • Listen to them, believe their story and let them tell you their story at their own pace.
  • Offer them a place to stay or help them find a shelter.
  • Do not get involved personally with their abuser – instead, focus on listening and identifying resources.
  • Try to understand your loved one’s reasons for staying, and offer financial help and childcare assistance if you can and encourage them to get help.

The YWCA of St. Joseph offers immediate and long-term help for women who are experiencing (or have experienced) domestic violence. The Shelter and the Bliss Manor Housing Program help many women and their children each year escape the violence and rebuild their lives with a vision for the future. YWCA victim advocates are available at MOSAIC for immediate assistance/advocacy. We also offer professional counseling for victims as well as a 24-hour crisis hotline at 816-232-1225 or 1-800-653-1477.  These services are offered at no cost. To learn more, visit our website.

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How to Help Your Children Understand Domestic Violence

How to Help Your Children Understand Domestic Violence

When and Why You Need to Talk About Domestic Violence With Your Children

If you are a victim of domestic violence and have children with you in the home, this can be a very difficult topic for discussion. The same is true if your children have visited a home where violence has occurred – or if they have friends who are experiencing violence in their own homes. Yet, no matter what your child’s age, they understand more than you may think and they need your help to properly process what they observe.

At What Age?
From a young age you can start talking with your child about the proper way to treat others. With very young children it can be good to emphasize that hands are intended for work, for love and for helping others – not for hurting others. The same goes for words. From the youngest ages children can be taught that words are to be used to help and encourage rather than to tear down and hurt. These kinds of conversations will provide your child with the correct frame of reference through which to filter things they may see or hear.

At What Time?
Be aware that if your child is witness to domestic violence, their natural inclination may be to blame themselves. It’s important that you reassure your child that abuse is never their fault. These are conversations that can take place at any time, not only when abuse occurs. If you notice that your child has inexplicable health complaints such as a headache or stomach ache – it could be that they are internalizing fears. This is definitely the time to make sure communication channels are open and that you find the strength to have an uncomfortable but necessary conversation.

At What Level?
Most experts suggest that you keep your conversations age-appropriate. Give necessary facts without getting into information beyond your child’s maturity level. It’s good to talk about how to take care of self and how to maintain appropriate boundaries at the level of your child’s current understanding. How you discuss domestic violence with your toddler will differ from how you talk about it with your middle school or teenage child.

At the St. Joseph YWCA we can offer you a safe place to talk about ways to discuss the issues of violence and abuse with kids. We can also provide a safe place for you and your children to go when you determine that it is time to leave a situation where abuse is present. We are here to help you and your children and provide you with a safe environment so you can take next steps toward hope. If you feel you or your children are in immediate danger please call 911 – and read more about our Victim Services, Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children, Bliss Manor or YWCA counseling programs today at www.ywcasj.org.

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Are You Aware of How Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace?

Are You Aware of How Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace?

Domestic Violence is Believed Responsible for 8 Million Lost Work Days

Did you know that one of the most likely perpetrators of violence at work is often someone’s abusive domestic partner? Perhaps because these stories aren’t often told on the evening news, many employers have largely adopted a “wait and see” attitude toward domestic violence. It is important to be aware of how domestic violence can impact the workplace – and share this message with others.

Continued violent behavior is unlikely to remain contained in the home. Sooner or later the abuser will follow the partner to a predictable location – such as work and other places where they frequently travel. Experts highlight that a large number of those who are living with domestic abuse experience related issues at their place of employment.

 
Domestic violence also affects work performance. It is estimated that 8 million paid work days are lost due to this problem and close to 40 percent report difficulty finding and maintaining work because of domestic abuse. It’s a safety issue, a mental health issue and a productivity issue, and many workplaces are simply unprepared to deal with it.

While employers cannot resolve issues of domestic violence directly, they can offer survivors a safe place to investigate resources and options
. Since most abuse shelters are contacted during mid-day business hours, it is likely that survivors may wait until the abusive partner is at work or they themselves are at work (and away from danger) in order to seek help. Employers who become aware of abusive relationships can let employees know that work hours are acceptable times to make calls they need to make to escape domestic violence.

It is important that your workplace have a written policy regarding domestic and sexual violence.  You can find sample forms to help guide you in developing your own policy at http://www.workplacesrespond.org/.   There are also online resources which can give advice about how to protect yourself while at work from the harassment of an abusive partner. The St Joseph YWCA  provides shelter, counseling and can steer survivors toward other needed resources. If you or a co-worker close to you is confronted with the dangers of domestic violence, make the call to our YWCA crisis line. We’re here to support you.

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