At the YWCA Central Alabama, we know that domestic violence does not stay in the home. The cycle of violence most often follows the victim and the abuser in other parts of life. Being the area’s only certified provider of domestic violence services, it is crucial that we recognize where domestic violence is prevalent, especially in places where we trust we can be safe. Last week Johnny Lee, founder of Peace@Work, presented a workshop on how to recognize and prevent domestic violence in the workplace.
Peace@Work is an initiative created by Lee to help prevent the often overlooked prevalence of domestic violence in the workplace. Lee points out that domestic violence in the workplace can seriously damage the productivity and skills of employees. Often times, a victim of domestic violence will feel it is her own issue not to be brought into the workplace, but Lee argues that these secrets are everyone’s business. When domestic violence enters the workplace, it enters the social and professional atmosphere.
“Employers should also be aware that domestic violence affects the workplace in terms of increased medical expenses, absenteeism, increased risk of violence at work, productivity and employee safety and well-being,” says Jennifer Caraway, Director of Domestic Violence Services at YWCA Central Alabama. Even though domestic violence doesn’t seem like a work related issue, its consequences are widespread.
The workshop Lee presented, called “Domestic Violence in the Workplace,” provided important information to assist participants in understanding the prevention and management of domestic violence in the workplace. Attendees included 50 participants from throughout the community in the audience. There were representatives from area law enforcement agencies, the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources, Jefferson County Family Court, Gateway and the Exchange Club, along with a variety of other agencies. His presentation covered topics such as red flags and warning signs of domestic violence, why domestic violence occurs in business and even how it can affect your health care costs and employee productivity. Lee’s presentation shed light on just how far-reaching the consequences of domestic violence can be, even beyond the personal, physical and psychological.
“A study of domestic violence survivors found that 74 percent of employed battered women were harassed by their partner while they were at work,” says Caraway. “In our work we realize how important it is for employers to recognize the signs of domestic violence and understand that domestic violence is a workplace issue.”
Lee’s workshop was very informative and eye-opening in terms of how to detect evidence of domestic violence as well as how to respond. His presentation was outstanding, and we thank him for providing such important information. In matters of domestic violence, it is more helpful to be proactive in knowing the red flags and early stages of abuse. Reactive treatment can be more costly, time consuming, more emotionally damaging and sometimes unfortunately too late.
If you or anyone you know is in need of domestic violence services, please call our Domestic Violence Hotline toll free at 1-800-650-6522 or locally at (205) 322-4878.
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