TAG | Domestic Violence
So proud of client SCF Arizona
for heading off a potential DV issue. A recent conversation with Bobbie J. Fox, SCF Attorney, Legal Compliance and Risk Management, revealed that a female employee was having serious concerns with a former intimate partner. The partner (IP) was harassing her and threatening her at her second job. The employee obtained an Order of Protection and per SCF Domestic Violence Policy, she notified the Human Resources Department. HR took the matter seriously and made sure small, but simple steps were taken to assure the employee’s safety. And then…nothing. The GOOD kind of nothing.
The employee had no further problems with the former boyfriend. All was, and is quiet at SCF.
That’s exactly what you want. Training works! My training programs lead with phrase: ‘Small changes at work make big changes at home’. This is an example of that and how successful a broad spectrum DV initiate at work can be when everyone is trained annually for their level of responsibility. And when you have a corporate culture, like SCF does, where the executives lead by example and embrace the knowledge that you can make a workplace that is safe, supportive and sought-after.
I came across the following portion of an online newsletter from the Minnesota Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
Fear has a profound effect on all of us. It affects our ability to concentrate and be productive. But a victim’s fear is particularly unique and profound. It is frequently misunderstood not only by males, but by other females who have had no similar personal experiences. As a result, a woman may be reluctant to report a threat or an attack. She may be unwilling to leave an abusive relationship because she fears her risk will increase. If the incident is reported at work, she may fear the loss of her job, or pressure from peers or her boss to take action which she is not yet ready to take. Or perhaps she fears the unknown – how the employer will react to a threat that may impact the workplace. The more effective a company is in creating an environment where a victim feels safe to report problems, the more successful it will be in learning about these types of risks before there are violent outcomes.
Addressing domestic violence in the workplace does not have to be accompanied by a large budget. Safety precautions may be as simple as allowing a victim to use flexible hours so her arrivals and departures are not predictable; providing a temporary cellular phone to increase her safety as she travels back and forth to work; temporarily transferring her to a different office site; or simply having emergency procedures in place in the event a situation escalates.
Every organization has an opportunity to make a difference by:
- Taking a clear and loud stand on the side of preventing domestic violence at work and in our homes and communities.
- Paying attention to warning signs of victims and perpetrators.
- Being supportive of victims or co-workers who report threats.
- Referring victims and co-workers to counseling agencies for help.
- Creating an environment that encourages people to come forward with concerns.
- Treating every situation seriously and taking actions that may reduce risk in the workplace.
domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence at work · leadership development · legal · Legal Compliance · personal safety · prevention · Risk Management · SCF Arizona · training · victim’s rights
By guest blogger Erika Evans
My experiences volunteering at the shelter have opened my eyes to all aspects of domestic violence. Did you know that domestic violence not only affects emotional health but it greatly impacts physical health as well? It is exhausting on the body to endure trauma and stress and as time carries on may begin to cause illness. It is very important to seek medical care and routine checkups as a means of preventive medicine as well as to deal with any current health issues. Being able to recognize the physical symptoms of domestic violence will give you the ability to take measures to correct these conditions. Some common symptoms are headache and muscle tension, upset stomach, nausea and vomiting and fatigue or sleeping difficulties. Illness related to domestic violence may be heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive illness and may lower the immune system. Often victims of abuse don’t realize that these issues are symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). To make managing these health issues even worse is that the cause is often over-looked by health care providers. More often, they are occupied with managing the symptoms and treatment as opposed to helping the victim pinpoint the original source of the problem; past or current abuse, and helping that person escape from and find the therapy and emotional healing they need.
Intimate partner abuse (meaning the psychological damage without necessarily the physical battery) can also be damaging to your health. One common effect on someone who is in an abusive relationship is change in sex drive. Intimate partner abuse gives the abuser power and control through reproductive coercion which may lead to unwanted pregnancies by the victim. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men experience intimate partner abuse at some point in the life and is considered a significant public health issue. Domestic violence is toxic in many ways, including your physical health.
A colleague of Stephanie Angelo’s, Ellen Taliaferro, wrote The Physician’s Guide to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse: A Reference for All Health Care Professionals, available on Amazon which focuses on her years of medical practice in emergency room medicine where she saw a strong connection with high frequency in medical trauma and domestic abuse. This book is invaluable for any physician. Has your doctor read this?
By guest writer R. Dania, age 16
As a high school student, especially as a teenage girl, I have seen the full range of relationships. I don’t know much about teen violence statistics, but I’ve seen couples who have been happily together for more than two years, and couples who haven’t worked out as well. I myself have been through a few relationships. All, of course, different. Last year it was a boy two years older who would get upset if I couldn’t talk on the phone right when he wanted to, or for as long as he wanted to. He came to a dance show I was performing in and during intermission, I received a text message saying simply, “This isn’t what I expected, I’m leaving.” To most people, it would seem melodramatic to call this an abusive relationship but as we know, with it being Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, that’s really mental and emotional teen dating abuse.
But let’s not forget that there’s always the good that comes out of dating, the things that make all the high school drama worth it. With the guys that will be genuine to their girls and give them all the respect they deserve, but also knowing that a relationship is a two-way street. Both parties must treat each other well. www.Girlsheath.gov states that in order to have a healthy relationship:
- You feel good about yourself when you are with that person.
- You think that both people work hard to treat the other person well.
- You feel safe around the other person.
- You like being with the other person.
- You feel that you can trust him or her with your secrets.
So as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month comes to a close, remember these tips, and I encourage everyone to have conversations with your mothers, sisters, and friends regarding any issues you may have or advice you need.
This free, one hour webinar will review a series of domestic assault incidents that occurred in the workplace. The focus of the presentation will be to determine the risk factors and protective factors that can be utilized to prevent these crimes. We will investigate cases that occur in Arizona and across the nation.
This will be a discussion.
As we review these tragedies and how they can be prevented, participants will be encouraged to chat in or talk to join the conversation live.
Discussion on Domestic Violence at Work
Date: December 18, 2012
Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST
Sign Up: Register here
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
When the Human Resources manager called to describe the female employee’s resistance to discussing the abusive husband who kept showing up at the workplace; making his presence in her life achingly obvious with emails, phone calls and stake-outs in the parking lot.
“She won’t talk with me.” said the manager. “She clams up.” They asked me to meet with the woman on their behalf, thinking that a neutral outsider could encourage her to help.
So we sat down, the Human Resource manager, the employee and me. And that’s where I got my big surprise. The manager barked an order at the woman that she “has to” meet with me. The tone of her voice was angry, and insistent as she gave her a directive, “You will talk with Ms. Angelo until she says you can go!” Ouch. Quite frankly that answered a lot of my questions as to why this woman was so reluctant to talk.
When you are a domestic violence victim, discussing the dynamics of your relationship is very, very complex. We have written about that in other blogs. Let’s focus now on how to create safe environments to ask for help for victims of domestic violence.
1. Start with your room environment. Invite the employee to talk with you in a place that’s quiet and not where everyone can see you talking. Have water and tissue boxes available on the table. (Some say you should not hand a tissue to someone crying as it sends a subliminal message that they should stop. Instead ensure they can easily reach tissues on their own).
2. Be an “active listener.” This sends the message that you are genuinely interested and respect what they have to say. Give your full attention and comment on what you think you heard. If you did not understand what was said, ask for clarification. Ask open ended questions that do not convey judgment. For example you can ask, “Could you tell me more about that?”, “What do you mean he has a temper just like his father?” “What happened next?” “Would you like help getting out?” “May I give you a list of resources and phone numbers?”
3. Be positive and have an upbeat tone of voice. No one likes to listen, or open up, to someone who is grumpy; smile. Show enthusiasm and be positive when having conversations with victims or suspected victims. I am not saying that you should make light of their trauma. Just don’t wallow in it either. Empathy not sympathy. Maintain eye contact without staring. Nod occasionally and lean forward slightly.
4. Offer guidance that addresses the person’s problem, behavior, or concern. Do not criticize for wrong or bad behavior; instead develop an action plan to help the victim (or offender) change the situation that’s unsafe and/or affecting their work. Talk about strategies they can use in difficult situations. Discuss hypothetical scenarios such as what he/she can do if they are in an unsafe situation and hopefully avoid getting into dangerous situations. Remember though, this is based on offering resources, like shelter information, hot-line phone numbers and your Employee Assistance Provider (EAP). It is not to suggest you act as their therapist.
5. Maintain and enhance self-esteem and self-respect. People with positive self-esteem are more likely to reach out for help and accept the help that is offered. Where victims are concerned try to remember that the batterer, or offender’s, greatest ally is to minimize and strip their victim of self-worth. Most victims have been told so often that they are unworthy that they’ve come to believe it. You can help replace lost self-esteem.
6. Know your limitations. The reason clients seek me out for domestic violence training, is that it raises Domestic Violence Intelligence. Know that there are times that a subject matter expert can ensure you address the situation correctly and help safeguard your from making a mistake that could violate compliance or land you in hot water. If you are attempting to get your employee to seek help from experts, be the first to set an example and seek help yourself.
active listener · Coaching · depression · domestic abuse · Domestic Violence · domestic violence in the workplace · Domestic Violence Intelligence · domestic violence prevention · Employee Assistance Provider · employees · employer · human resources director · management training · personal safety · Safe · self-esteem · Sought-after · stress in the workplace · Supportive · Therapist · training · violence
I was stopped at a red light one day, and you know how it is – you look around at other cars while you kill those two or three minutes waiting for the green. I glanced up into my rearview mirror and noticed the young woman in the car behind mine.
She was crying.
She wasn’t whimpering. She was weeping. Hard, painful crying. She looked bereft and heartbroken.
My imagination started churning. Did she break up with a boyfriend? Had someone died? Maybe she lost her job?
I had a crazy urge to get out of my car and run back to hers. I know that was impractical, unsafe and would probably make the drivers of the long line of cars behind her furious. What
would she do if I approached her? Be grateful for my concern or think I was out of line for prying?
I imagined there were TV cameras around me hidden in the trees and that John Quinones of the TV show What Would You Do? Was about to pop out at any time. Maybe they were doing a show on whether people gave a hoot about the pain of total strangers.
I’ve thought long and hard about that time. What would I have done if she’d been sitting at a bus stop and I’d walked by? Would I have stopped?
Being that my career is immersed in dealing with the pain of domestic violence and it’s spillover to the workplace, I believe I would have stopped. I picture myself saying to her, “You look so sad. If you’ll talk with me for a moment, I promise to listen without judging. Maybe just talking will help.”
I can’t guarantee if that would work. But I hate to imagine never trying, and always wondering if I could’ve helped. Some day, if they haven’t done it already, there will be an episode of What Would You Do? that watches to see if folks would reach out to a total stranger in emotional pain.
Cameras in the trees or not – what would you do?
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
Kudos to Superior Court Judge Susan Brnovich for getting tougher on DV. http://tiny.cc/hve1r . In this case, the accused killer of Jamie Laiaddee, Rick Valentini gets 42 years plus an additional 12 for other fraud charges. Bronovich was the prosecutor in 2002 for Tracy’s case which led to dismal and disappointing sentence http://tiny.cc/wbapi
In October of 2010, Tracy and I had the opportunity to speak to a room full of City of Phoenix Prosecutors and they were stunned as well when they learned how lax the sentence was for Tracy’s ex-husband.
Tracy and I were not passing judgment of our own, nor pointing fingers. What we expressed to the crowd was a combination problem. A lack of strong [prosecution mired with restrictions from a judge who appeared to sympathize with Tracy’s ex-husband. How else would you attempt to explain the judge barring so much impactful and clearly relevant information from being brought to the jury’s attention? For example, information like her ex-husband’s nearly identical attack with a knife on a former girlfriend? The very girlfriend who wanted to testify on Tracy’s behalf in support of the prosecution and was not allowed to by the then judge. The “excited utterance” was also not allowed. This was the statement Tracy made to the very first person who came in contact with her, the EMT, to whom she said “my husband did this”. And yet the judge wouldn’t allow the statement since it was uttered beyond two minutes of the attack. (So by his own rules he’d reinforced the truth that the attack lasted for nearly two hours!)
Serrated is a mind boggling, anger inducing book. It’s a must read that will propel you to speak out, as we have, to serve justice the way it should be served.
“It Doesn’t Make Sense and Its Costing Us Millions – A Strategic Domestic Abuse Initiative for Human Resource Professionals” designed for employers, CEOs, CFOs and business owners, has been recertified by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) for continuing education credits. The new recertification is for January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012.
The program, provided by Human Resource Essential, a business that specializes in public speaking, awareness programs and training on domestic violence, is approved for 2.0 Strategic recertification credit hours toward Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR).
“This approval validates the need for employers to recognize the human and financial costs of domestic violence, and how to create an environment which will enable employees to come forward for help,” said Stephanie Angelo, owner of Human Resource Essential. “If you’re responsible for state and federal compliance and your business’ bottom line, this program is for you. Lost workdays and lost productivity are known as the biggest siphons of corporate profitability we have. These siphons usually are created by things that are happening outside the workplace. Small changes have the biggest results, and employers are in the unique position to make those changes; simultaneously they must ensure state and federal compliance.”
Family abuse/violence is a subject that is not easily addressed because there are many people who deny its existence or the magnitude. Many people have trouble facing the possibility of having to deal with the serious effects it has on their employees personally and professionally; and that the organization, in turn, pays the price.
This program, available in live and we based versions, illustrates the costs to the business bottom line. Participants leave with a view of cost affected areas, a violence prevention plan, look at case histories and learn how to proactively achieve non-abuse through strategies to create a legally compliant, healthier, safer workforce.
Human Resource Essential’s work saves US companies $7.9 M in lost workdays alone each year, using a comprehensive and strategic method which yields long-term results.
Clients primarily include insurance companies, financial institutions and retailers.
As a multiple award-winning expert in domestic violence’s effects on the workplace, Stephanie Angelo, SPHR, ensures participants gain practical ideas and skills which immediately inspire them and increase their ability to address this workplace issue. Clients report decreased turnover, reductions in workplace incidents, noticeable changes in affected individuals, and
positive changes in corporate culture.
For more information and to schedule training programs with Human Resource Essential, please call (480) 726-9833 or visit http://www.hressential.com.