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Dear readers – This blog ran previously and continues to bring positive impact to readers. That makes me glad.
This month of awareness has assisted in bringing together those who work to bring an end to Domestic Violence, as well as move forward legislation to assist victims of domestic violence. As we move forward to October and participate in activities that support in bringing awareness and memorial to this ever present issue, we aid those who are suffering everyday to bring them one step closer to safety, and a healthier life for themselves, and their family. What might be things you can do to stop domestic abuse?
In your place of worship
1. Encourage information about domestic abuse in the congregation’s programs, youth groups, marriage preparation, study groups, etc.
2. Establish a committee to promote awareness of the problem and how the congregation can help.
3. Organize a drive to collect food, toiletries, household goods and other needed items for a local domestic violence service.
In your workplace
4. Display posters or brochures (in break rooms, restrooms, or meeting rooms) to promote awareness of domestic abuse and how to get help.
5. Organize a Brown Bag lunch or other event for co-workers and invite a speaker to talk about solutions to the problem.
6. Ask what policies your employer has developed to keep employees safe from a domestic abuser who threatens the workplace.
In schools and daycare
7. Encourage the editor of the school newspaper to have a special issue about teen dating violence and partner abuse.
8. Write a paper about domestic violence to share with your classmates.
9. Educate teachers and other staff about the connection between child abuse and partner abuse.
In civic organizations, clubs or neighborhoods
10. Invite a speaker to educate organization members about domestic violence.
11. Organize a fundraising event or food/toiletries drive to benefit a domestic violence service agency.
12. Publish information about domestic violence and available resources in the newsletter.
13. “Adopt” a family seeking independence from an abuser, to assist with practical needs.
As a Citizen
14. Ask your local library to stock books on domestic violence and to set up displays to educate the public about the issue.
15. Speak out against domestic abuse: Expressing your view that domestic violence is unacceptable has a powerful effect on changing the norms that support abuse.
16. Write letters to newspaper editors or send commentaries to TV and radio to help raise awareness about domestic violence.
17. Vote for public leaders who take a strong stand against domestic abuse.
18. Call 911 if you see or hear a crime of domestic abuse in progress. Write down license plate numbers, locations, and any other information that may be helpful to law enforcement.
19. Volunteer with a domestic violence service. Organizations need help with office activities, fundraising events, technical and professional services and assistance to clients.
20. Donate used clothing and household goods to a program that gives these vital items to families seeking independence from an abuser.
21. Participate in neighborhood crime watch programs.
Source original for this article: http://www.thepaper247.com/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=22&ArticleID=17559&TM=9137.525
bottom line · Brown Bag lunch · business · Coaching · conflict · consulting · costs · crime victim’s rights · depression · domestic abuse · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · employer · lawsuit · leadership development · legal · management · offender · personal safety · relationships · risk · Speak out against domestic abuse · strategic leadership · stress in the workplace · training · victim · violence
It’s an honor to be participating as a panelist at this discussion. I’ll represent employers and provide advice on measures they can take to prevent abuse, what employers can do and what policies can support their employees.
I hope you will make time next Saturday to attend this important event in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month – and all the Amy’s out there.
consulting · conversation · crime victim’s rights · domestic abuse · domestic violence at work · domestic violence awareness month · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · employees · family · personal safety · training · victim · victim’s rights · violence
At networking events you are usually given just 30 seconds to say your “elevator speech”. So in that time you have to be pretty clear and concise on what you’re about and how your clients benefit.
My clients are CEOs, CFOs, lead Human Resource Professionals, Attorneys and Security Professionals. The end beneficiaries are all personnel in the company. That’s why I do what I do. To create workplaces that are Safe, Supportive and Sought-after.
30 second elevator speeches aside, here’s a ”punch-list” (pun intended) of what I do.
What HRE does for its clients (local and national):
- Customized training of senior management (i.e. C-suite, Legal, HR) and supervisors in state and federal compliance, financial ramifications and effective tools for recognizing and assisting employees who may be victims, or offenders, of abuse.
- Tiered trainings to provide general awareness to all employees, more specialized training for supervisors, and advanced training for members of threat management teams.
- Staff level training for recognizing abusive relationships in themselves and/or others and appropriate communication with co-workers who may be victims, or offenders, of abuse.
- Trainings consist of lecture, interactive conversation, case examples, and skill practices.
- Provide policies and procedures addressing workplace and domestic violence.
- Reviews and updates existing domestic and workplace violence policies, and ensures these coordinate with other employer policies.
- Establish relationship with the company’s Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) to vet licensed counselors who are specifically trained and competent using current and safest methods to counsel victims of, or perpetrators of, domestic violence.
- If client does not have an EAP, HRE assists in procuring one.
- If EAP does not currently have counselors who are experienced with, and specialize in victim assistance or offender counseling, HRE makes referrals to EAP through established relationships.
- Provides electronic and hard copy manual of local and national resources.
- This is an in-depth, comprehensive workplace initiative with long term results. It includes on-going consulting and interaction for sustainable change.
If you wonder at all, even a little bit, if your organization would benefit from this. Contact me. We can do a risk analysis – and we can just talk. Whatever it takes.
Attorneys · bottom line · CEO · CFO · consulting · domestic violence in the workplace · family · family violence · Human Resources · leadership development · personal safety · Risk Analysis · Security · strategic leadership · training
Last weekend I was joyfully out taking photos with my Nikon and attached 70-300 “long” lens. If you’re familiar with this camera and lens combination, you’ll know that the total weight is almost 1 ½ pounds. About to drive to a new photo op, I got into my driver’s seat, and lifted the camera off from around my neck by the strap. But it didn’t go. That lug of a contraption swung back toward my chest and as I lifted the strap I chunked myself right under the chin. It snapped my jaw shut and sent my upper teeth right through my bottom lip. Aye yi yi! That hurt!
“Crud!” O.K., that’s not really what I said, but you get the gist. I had no time to waste so I sucked it up (blood included) and continued on my journey. Fortunately, I was headed to an ice rink. Great! I could get ice on my lip. No, not from planting myself face down on the skate surface! I went to concessions and asked for ice in a napkin. Clearly the vendor had seen his share of rink accidents; he pulled out a baggy instead and filled it up. Ahh, relief. I was mortified though. My lip was swelling and I resembled a cowboy with a mouthful of chewing tobacco. To my utter horror, the area below my lip was taking on a deep purple hue. And I had tickets that night to the theater with a four star dinner beforehand.
I readied myself with one liners for each time I had to explain to someone what happened to my lip. I just knew people would goggle and stare. “What happened to YOU?” they’d say. I’d hear it over and over again.
But I didn’t. In the week’s time that it took for the swelling to subside and the bruise to fade, not one person asked how I’d been hurt. No one asked if I was O.K. No one said a thing. Certainly it can’t be because they were worried about embarrassing me more regarding my lack of grace and coordination.
Ah, the irony.
In training, I dialogue with managers and employers about the importance of asking if someone is O.K. The managers and I spend a significant about of time on skill practices and the pros and cons of various dialogues and questions to ask employees. Like does the person need assistance finding resources, would they like help getting out? People who are victims of abuse need to know someone cares and they are achingly waiting for someone to reach out and offer an ear of concerned listening.
I’m really lucky; it was my own klutziness that decorated my face with a fat lip. But what if that wasn’t the case? Go back to my most previous blog Six Steps to Safe Environments to Ask For Help and read up on talking to someone who is a victim of abuse. It can make a word of difference to someone.
As for me, my lip is healed, but my pride still hurts. Maybe I should go back to my little pocket camera.
camera · Coaching · collaboration · consulting · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence in the workplace · employees · Nikon · personal safety · team work · training · violence
Click link to watch this 1 minute video! Announcing TheDVU
Coaching · consulting · Counselors · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence prevention · Social Workers · stress in the workplace · Therapists · training · victim’s rights · violence
Statistics show that:
13% of Americans are likely to have heart disease1
Almost 20% of Americans are likely to have diabetes1
One in eight women or 12.6% will have breast cancer1
One in six men will develop prostate cancer1
As of 2006, the CDC reports that an estimated 36,828people per 100,000 are infected with HIV2
More than 200,000 people — are unaware they’re infected3
If American adults have come to accept these facts, as the vast majority of them have, then why is it still so hard to accept the fact that 85% of women and 15% of men are victims of abuse? Just like the above health statistics we understand there are a number of unreported cases so the numbers should be higher that what you see presented.The same is true for domestic violence.Lastly, when you think of the above noted health statistics you know that until someone’s illness is really in advanced stages you will probably never know someone is ill just by looking at them. The same is undeniably true with domestic abuse.
You don’t know when someone is suffering. You have to have reached a point of trust where the victim is comfortable enough, and feeling safe enough to open up to you. You need to be personally at a point where you understand enough about the dynamics of abuse that you can approach someone you suspect is victimized without jeopardizing their trust and personal safety.
I once had the VP of Human Resources of a very large international organization of 58,000 employees worldwide; boast to me “it doesn’t happen in my company, I never hear about it.” Well, sadly that’s statistically impossible. Even more sad was the fact that this VP didn’t have his ear to the ground enough to even know what was going one in his organization.
Do any of your employees exhibit any of the following?
- Become quiet when he/she is around their partner or ex-partner and feel afraid of making him/her angry?
- Cancel plans at the last minute?
- Not have access to money?
- Have their attire dictated to them?
- Stop seeing friends and family members, becoming more and more isolated?
- Explaining bruises to family, coworker’s or friends?
These are only a few of the possible signs of abuse. No one is immune from domestic violence and there are many available resources. Like the VP of Human Resources I mentioned, you don’t have to see it or hear of it for it to be happening and I’m available to help your organization by visiting:www.hressential.com
Check out other resources too like The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence http://www.ncadv.org/
2Centers for Disease Control
3Kenneth Mayer of Brown University
bottom line · business · Coaching · company · conflict · consulting · costs · domestic abuse · employees · employer · family · lawsuit · legal · management · offender · personal safety · relationships · risk · training · victim · violence
When I was a little girl, my older brother sometimes pretended to fly like Superman, jumping from couch to chair with a makeshift cape over his shoulders. I was ten years old the first time I really saw him fly. That was when my mother’s boyfriend launched him from the living room to the dining room – where he crashed to the floor in a heap. My brother wasn’t trying to be a superhero, but he was trying to stop this man from hurting our mother.
The boyfriend came and went over the next six years, finally disappearing when I was sixteen. Each time he left my relief was immense. Each time he came back my disappointment was crushing.
My brother and I used to take long walks at night just to get out of the house. I remember one night crunching through snow in five-degree-below-zero weather trying to figure out how we could become emancipated at the ages of twelve and fourteen. Our options looked pretty grim so we dropped the idea and waited for the years to go by till we could be free.
When you’re a kid living with abuse in the home it’s like living on an earth quake’s fault line. You never know when the ground is going to come out from under you. Nothing is safe or secure. You never know who’s next or what will set it off. You don’t want friends over because something might happen when they’re there. There’s no one to talk to. You hold your breath – all the time. (From my book Battered and Abused, Bringing the Darkness into the Light)
Domestic violence affects every member of the family, including the children. Family violence creates a home environment where children live in constant fear.
Children who witness family violence are affected in ways similar to children who are physically abused. They are often unable to establish nurturing bonds with either parent Children are at greater risk for abuse and neglect if they live in a violent home.
Statistics show that over 3 million children witness violence in their home each year. Those who see and hear violence in the home suffer physically and emotionally.
“Families under stress produce children under stress. If a spouse is being abused and there are children in the home, the children are affected by the abuse.” (Ackerman and Pickering, 1989)
Research shows without question that children will react in different ways. Variables are due to the child’s gender, age, what they witnessed, if there was someone giving them appropriate love and support, and other factors. Still children exposed to family violence are more likely to develop social, emotional, psychological and or behavioral problems than those who aren’t. They experience, lower self-esteem, depression, health issues, growth and development problems. They may avoid going to school, and once there are often too distracted to do well. Interviews with teachers has indicated that they are often spending significant time with children with these issues, to the detriment of the other students.
When employers provide resources, support systems and counseling services to their workforce they do a tremendous service to their employees to show they care. Since often times the workplace is the only possible source of information for an employee who’s every action is monitored by a controlling partner, you can imagine how great it is to be able to find resources for help at the workplace.
Employers who have a qualified Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) in house, or on contract, prove to their employees that they aren’t just blowing smoke in terms of being employee friendly. They’re walking the talk. And it comes back to them tenfold in a loyal workforce. That’s when the employer is the real superhero.
children · Coaching · consulting · domestic abuse · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · employees · employer · leadership development · management · Personal Safety · relationships · strategic leadership · victim
Many years ago when I was the human resources (HR) manager for a company I had a female employee (I’ll call her “Dee”) come to me to tell me that she was going through a divorce and her estranged husband was stalking her and threatening her life, and that of their two young boys. She was very, very afraid.
So I contacted my counterpart at another division of the same company and we arranged for Dee to transfer to the other division. Dee would have virtually the same job, earn the same pay and have the same shift. This would enable her to earn the income that was her lifeblood to supporting her two boys, providing health insurance for them, and still keep the same hours so that she could be with them when they were not in school.
The day before she was supposed to transfer a few of her co-workers came to me and asked if I realized that Dee was sitting in her car in the parking lot crying. I didn’t. And I’ll tell you, if you have an employee who is being stalked, the last place you want them sitting alone and vulnerable is in their car in a parking lot. So I want out there.
Dee was crying her eyes out. She was crying so hard she was hyperventilating. In between shaky breaths she told me she had decided not to take the transfer and when she told the other HR manager, the woman screamed at her, “Do you know the hoops I jumped through to get you this job? Do you realize the time it took me to create this position?”
Poor Dee was horrified and I was mortified. How could a human resources manager, whose job by its very nature is to help and support employees, be so selfishly consumed that she re-victimized Dee, who was going through so much anguish already?
I don’t know why Dee decided not to take the transfer. I never asked because it didn’t matter. I can only assume it’s because she already sensed that the environment of our division was one of caring and acceptance. That we would do what it took, as already proven, to ensure her safety. And we did. We made slight modifications, none of which cost a penny; and Dee remained safe and we retained a valued employee.
I saw HR and management as being woefully undertrained in the dynamics of domestic abuse’s impact of the organization and the people who work for it. Ten years later, that and the many other experiences I encountered over my human resource career, propelled me into a full time focus of intimate partner violence’s organizational impact consulting and training. It has become a mission that is heartrending and joyously rewarding – every single day.
There are many questions which are commonly asked. It doesn’t bother me. People are curious and they want to know. The topic of domestic abuse is taboo and they are reaching out to dismantle myths – it’s all good. People probe for information on the dynamics of abuse and they challenge me about the workplace getting involved. Of the questions I’m most frequently asked, about addressing domestic violence at the workplace, the following are the most common:
“I never see anything and I never hear about it. Why would I believe my company is affected?”
The sustenance of domestic abuse is silence. It thrives and grows in secrecy. By domestic abuse’s very nature it’s something victims keep secret for the embarrassment, humiliation, fear of blame, and re-victimization that is attached to the stigma of abuse.
Offender’s power and control grows stronger every day that they can keep their victims quiet and the ugly truth of their behavior buried. They are expert manipulators and empowered by people’s resistance to get involved.
So just because you don’t actually see it happening at the workplace, hear conversations among employees, or have staff come forward asking for help, don’t be duped that it isn’t happening. It is. Experts in the field of domestic abuse, including myself, believe that up to 25% of employees are affected in some way; they are either victims or offenders, or suffering the long term effects of past abuse.
At the point that something “obvious” shows up at work, a bruised face or an act of violence, it means the abuse has been going on already for some time. And it’s been affecting the employee and costing the workplace all along.
“I’m afraid there will be a spike in people coming to me for help.”
Hallelujah if they do! You want people to come forward so that they can self-disclose and be directed to the help and resources they need. You, personally, are not the one to do the long term counseling, but your employees will not get the services, be it counseling, shelters, legal resources, or anything else if they don’t know where to find that help and that it’s o.k. to use it. Remember, you may have scores of employees who are actually afraid to ask for help for fear of losing their job or some other form of re-victimization.
One of my clients recently told me about several employees that came forward, and that included a young man who recognized himself as an abuser. This manager said the employee thanked him afterwards for not only being receptive to speaking with him respectfully, but for giving him a list of resources he could contact in private. It’s one of the first acts of preventing domestic violence in the workplace. Wouldn’t you rather see that than have a bitter and angry employee who potentially retaliates violently against the workplace, or have someone’s “significant other” who does?
“I don’t want to get involved in their personal lives.”
I’m not suggesting that you do, per se. I don’t recommend the executives, managers and human resource professionals I work with to attempt to be therapists. Not unless they’re licensed already. But if you have employees that come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol you get involved, right? If you have employees that have chronic attendance problems, you get involved, right? Or employees that have productivity issues, or need FMLA time off? Right? Well, the same is true for domestic abuse. But it does take training and education on the dynamics of abuse and the appropriate and most affective approaches to deal with it in a manner that “saves face” for the employee and maintains hers, or his, safety.
A couple clients had these words to say after their experience:
“…your ability to customize the training, policies, and resources for our organization has been invaluable.”
“…one could argue the Workplace as a whole benefitted from a demonstration that targeted assistance can generate significant breakthroughs, especially in DV cases.”
I often think about Dee, and wonder what her life is like today, all these years later. I’m certain she remembers the days when we were there to help her through one of the toughest times in her life – and I’ll bet she remembers it with appreciation. A colleague once said “You have two choices: control the risks or finance the results.” Most of all you will create a safe environment to ask for help. It speaks volumes about you and your organization. And who can question that?
Helping herself to apple slices, my friend said my new agave nectar tasted like dusty plastic. What a weird comparison! But I swiped at the little puddle on her plate and tasted it.
Ewww. It tasted like dusty plastic.
Now, having said that I can’t remember ever licking dusty plastic, but I can assure you this agave nectar tasted exactly like dusty plastic would if you were in the habit of licking it!
“Stay away from my dusty plastic!” I hissed at her in mock anger. We laughed at our silly selves.
But a person with an abusive personality has a tendency to get all “up in arms” about a comment like that. As if it’s some sort of direct insult to their taste buds. How come? Why do some people interpret it so differently without enjoying the humor? It’s like it sets them on fire.
Sound lame? Family fights usually start off with minor comments – and often end in tragedy.
Coaching · consulting · domestic abuse · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · leadership development · offender · relationships · strategic leadership · training · violence
That question came up one Saturday morning as I was sitting with a group of about twenty men, all DV offenders who had been mandated by court to attend 26 weeks of classes. I had been voluntarily joining these classes for 18 months to observe, learn and contribute. I was enjoying this rare opportunity with the permission of the group leader.
On this particular morning, one of the men was doing a “thought report” where he was explaining in minute detail what had transpired during the fight which led to his arrest. He admitted that a gun was involved – he said it was his girlfriend’s, and that her friend is the one who’d called police to report the argument; which she’d heard through the telephone.
He proceeded to minimize the intensity of the fight and gripe on and on about how the police stayed outside and wouldn’t come in to help stop the argument. He called them chicken s—t.
“Wait a minute.” I said. “You have to look at it from the Police perspective. They have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. They have no idea how many guns, or what type, or where you are in the house. Anything could happen, and Police are killed more often in DV calls than any other type. Period.”
The men stopped to look at me. There was a silence that would shake anyone’s confidence. And then about 10 of them started talking. “Yeah, you’re right” one said. “Never thought of it that way”, said another. “Oh, yea, there was that time when…” And on it went. It was good. That’s partly what those classes are for. To help the offenders, men and women both, to learn to see the bigger picture of a world beyond themselves; to take accountability for their actions and to see the ripple effect of consequences from their behavior.
I hope every one of them saw the article below that appeared on our paper the other day. I hope they never think of these situations the same way again.
Coaching · conflict · consulting · domestic abuse · domestic violence in the workplace · domestic violence prevention · guns · lawsuit · leadership development · legal · offender · Personal Safety · police · relationships · risk · shooting · strategic leadership · training · victim · violence