What is it?
Domestic violence, also called “interpersonal violence” or “intimate partner violence” is a pattern of behavior within a relationship used to maintain or gain power over the other intimate partner within the relationship. “Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.” Domestic abuse can occur to anyone regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. It can also affect people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and any education level. One-in-every-four women and one-in-every-ten men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What does it look like in the workforce?
Domestic violence can take many forms and influence a workplace/employee. Many different dynamics of relationships can be involved in domestic violence. While there is no guide, recognizing a pattern that MAY be a sign of domestic violence as a colleague, manager, or supervisor, can be one of the most crucial things you can do.
Signs to Recognize:
- Personal visits that become disruptive
- Addictions to alcohol or any other substance
- Decreased performance at the workplace
- Suicidal thoughts, attempts, or depression
- Physically hurt
- Lateness, leaving work early, arriving early, and absenteeism
- Numerous unusual or excessive phone calls
- Marriage or family issues
- Abrupt psychological changes, such as alienation from other coworkers and a lack of involvement in office activities or events
- Strict following of both the start and end times
- Unable to leave the workplace for business-related events
How can I support a party involved?
It is crucial to remember that not every employee will be comfortable or capable of helping victims similarly. When you consider reaching out to a victim of domestic violence, it’s common to feel anxious or unsuitable.
The affected may not necessarily be a victim of domestic violence just because they exhibit the behaviors or indicators indicated above. It is time to raise some concerns, in private, away from other employees, if you are a manager or supervisor and you detect these indicators from your employee or if you have other reasons to suspect that they may be a victim of domestic abuse. For instance:
“Is anything at home preventing you from getting to work or arriving on time? ”
“I see that you are performing differently now. Are you experiencing any household issues that are influencing how you perform? ”
“I’ve seen that you receive many distressing phone calls. Are there any steps we can take to help with that?”
If you’re a worried coworker, you might say:
“I’m concerned about you. Please let me know if I can support you in any way.”
“You are not alone. This happens to lots of people.”
“When you hung up the phone this morning, I could hear you crying. Do you feel comfortable talking about it? I want to ensure you get the help and support you need.”*Sourced from local interviews with Bolton Refuge and the Eau Claire City Health Department
The best thing to do as someone who may be concerned is to allow the person involved to talk freely. LISTENING is the greatest tool you can utilize as someone uninvolved. Reaching out helps show the colleague that you support them and they are not alone. Showing concern and raising questions is an excellent way to approach the situation. Not every victim will feel comfortable speaking about this and may be unable to grasp the problem, and that’s okay.
Where do I get help for myself or others?
We have several local sources that address domestic violence and assisted in this article’s information. Some are:
Bolton Refuge House
“Bolton Refuge House offers a variety of services to assist people who have been affected by domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking on their journey to physical and emotional safety.”
Family Support Center
“Family Support Center provides support and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and human trafficking. We also provide violence prevention education in local school districts and within our community.”
Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association
“We are here to empower people, advance cultures, and enhance the quality of life for Chippewa Valley low-income families.”
Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault (CASA) UW-Eau Claire
“CASA (Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault) was established in 2003. CASA is a sexual assault support service that maintains a victim centered approach. We provide a safe place for people to come and talk about any issues that they may have surrounding their sexual assault, or those of someone close to them. Even if you are not sure about a sexual experience and are now feeling uncomfortable with what happened, CASA would be glad to talk with you.”
Crisis line: 715-836-4357
Hibbard Humanities Hall 311C, 124 Garfield Ave, Eau Claire, 54701
“We at Fierce Freedom work to end the cycle of human trafficking and exploitation through educational programming that empowers communities and speaks to the worth and dignity of each individual.”
2519 N. Hillcrest Pkwy Suite 200, Altoona WI 54720
“What Is Domestic Violence?: American SPCC – Statistics & Effects of Domestic Violence in America.” American SPCC, 5 Aug. 2022, americanspcc.org/domestic-violence/.
Maurer, Roy. “When Domestic Violence Comes to Work.” SHRM, SHRM, 7 July 2021, www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/risk-management/Pages/Domestic-Violence-Workplace-NFL-Ray-Rice.aspx.
Gillette, Hope. “What Causes Domestic Violence?” Psych Central, Psych Central, 30 Sept. 2021, psychcentral.com/lib/what-causes-domestic-violence.