Human Resource Essential Blog
Making Workplaces that are Safe, Supportive and Sought-After

TAG | domestic violence prevention

same sex violence

It hurts to write this but there have been a couple good friends who “fell off the face of the earth” and dropped me as a friend.  Or so I thought…  People who for reasons I could never learn completely stopped being my friend.  No communication.  And not just with me – with everyone in our social circle.

All attempts to reach out have been ignored.  In one case the Social Network profiles have been stagnant for years.  Emails go unanswered, phone messages ignored.

In my line of work I can’t help but worry: is my friend being forced to cut off relationships with the outside world?  Is there someone in their life who is masterminding their isolation?

What is isolation?  Isolation is a powerful maneuver used by controlling partners.  Bit by bit they manipulate their victim by accusing her friends and family of having it “in for him”, and to make threats that if she talks to them and tells them their problems that he’ll make her “pay for it” or he’ll commit suicide, or any number of things.

A woman I know, whom I’ll call Leslie, moved from Europe to the United States with her husband.  He abused her mightily.  He refused to “allow” her to have a job, which made her completely dependent on him and prevented her from making any outside friendships.  And before long she was only permitted to speak to her mother once a month.  She had no one.  She was alone physically and mentally.  The emotional scars are still very present.  It takes one conversation with Leslie to realize it.

Getting back to my two friends, both of them are employed (last I heard); neither are in my home state of Arizona. So I ask myself if their co-workers see any changes, such as:

  • He demands loyalty to him
  • Prevents her from socializing with her friends
  • He makes her feel badly for maintaining or making friends of her own choosing
  • Tells her she is not allowed to see certain people
  • Rejects invitations to socialize with her friends and family
  • If they are at a social gathering, he sticks to her like glue or watches her constantly from a distance in case she interacts with other people.
  • He limits her visits with friends and family
  • Tells her that her friends or family don’t care about her
  • He sabotages her outside relationships by provoking jealousies and rivalries
  • He’s rude, critical or dismissive of her friends and family
  • Friends and family decide to stay away because of his abusiveness
  • He requires their relationship issues be kept secret
  • Forces her to quit her job
  • She chooses to isolate herself out of embarrassment
  • She isolates herself because she fears the consequences

 If you are a family member, friend or co-worker of someone in this situation it can be a frustrating and powerless feeling.  You want to access the victim, and you feel you can’t – sometimes out of fear for their safety.

A form of victim blaming is to assume they have a choice. Don’t turn your back and threaten to end your relationship if they don’t leave the abuser.  Doing so, is exactly what the abuser wants.  It removes one more person from her sphere of contacts and better isolates her – keeping her dependent on him. You’ve fallen into his trap.

Don’t hesitate to confidentially and privately let her know you care.  You can tell her you’ve seen what’s happening and that you are concerned for her. Let her know you will be there when she is ready.

Simple steps to helping an isolated individual can be learned. Two of my most-requested programs; It Happened at Home- It Cost Us at Work, and Battered and Abused-Bringing the Darkness into the Light both include active discussion and even skill practices to help you with options for helping.

Just give me a call today, at (480) 726-9833 and let’s go over your questions.  You can also email    Together we can make Workplaces that are Safe, Supportive and Sought-After.

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I have the pleasure of going back to my early roots in human resources training for two new clients to do workshops on communication in the workplace.  I love my work in workplace violence and domestic violence, yet having this change-of-pace is fun and refreshing.  Everyone likes to switch up their work every now and then!

There’s a segment in the training where we have a robust conversation about barriers to communication.  We separate barriers by category and pick them apart for deeper discussion.

One of the segments is Personal Pressures.  And guess what? Now we have an overlap again.  An element, and an important one, in being able to communicate with someone – and their ability to receive your message, is if they’re dealing with violence and abuse at home.  If they are, their ability to be receptive is greatly reduced.

The “noise” in the head of a victim of abuse is like having a conversation with someone while standing under a hovering helicopter.  The din is impossible.  It’s not that the recipient doesn’t want to hear your message.  They just can’t.  Priorities – like staying alive, take precedence.

Training is a crucial way to cut through the “noise”.  It has to be the right training.  How do you get your message across so that the person hears you, trusts you, and knows that you can relate, if not on a personal level – at least on an empathetic level.  Until you can do that correctly and effectively you are only going to add to the mental clutter.  You may even add to fear and humiliation and find that your employee distances her, or himself, from you and others in your organization.

This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  What have you done in your workplace to recognize and prevent abuse?

At Human Resource Essential, my partners and I are honored that our work increases emotional intelligence of management, HR and supervisors in effective tools for recognizing and assisting employees who may be victims, or offenders, of abuse.  Knocking down one barrier at a time.

Would you like to know more about this? I’m always happy to talk with you about improving communication at your workplace.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to I’d love to hear from you.

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safe at work         It’s not unusual for someone to ask me what a Workplace Violence Consultant cares about the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), until they experience one of my trainings.  We talk of State and Federal compliance with our attendees, and a segment of that conversation is about OSHA.

Every employer (there are a few exceptions) who has one or more employees is required, under the OSHA General Duty Guidelines to provide safe and healthful working conditions.  Employers may be cited for non-compliance, often discovered via inspections, and for situations in which an employee is injured or killed.  Ah ha!  Now we see the connection. There’s the relationship to workplace violence and domestic violence spillover at the workplace.

When an act of violence occurs, more often than not, there are reportable injuries.  On Sept. 11th of this year OSHA announced new reporting guidelines which will take effect on January 1, 2015.  Those guidelines include the requirement to report loss of an eye, amputations, and hospitalization of one or more employees within 24 hours.

You’ll find articles about the Guidelines and updates on OSHA “Latest News” and more information by following this link:

If you have any questions about this or to talk to an expert about improving your workplace violence initiative, just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to Visit us at

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I recently read a nice article about five suggestions to make a psychologically healthy workplace, and I really enjoyed the recommendations and the light way in which the article was written.

You know me though; my eyes automatically will scan for anything regarding health and safety.  In this article the author refers to the APA Center for Organizational Excellence (via a link), and the link then opens to a page which lists the following concerns:

Efforts to address health and safety issues in the workplace include:

  • Training and safeguards that address workplace safety and security issues
  • Efforts to help employees develop a healthy lifestyle, such as stress management, weight loss and smoking cessation programs
  • Adequate health insurance, including mental health coverage
  • Health screenings
  • Access to health/fitness/recreation facilities
  • Resources to help employees address life problems, for example, grief counseling, alcohol abuse programs, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and referrals for mental health services


I’d like to take this a step further and add various forms of violence which deeply affect the workplace.

Workplace Violence, Domestic Violence and Bullying result in increased absenteeism, health care and mental health care costs, lower productivity due to morale issues and time requirements for investigations, all while increasing turnover, paid time off, out of court settlements and jury awards to plaintiffs.

Workplace Violence, Domestic Violence and Bullying can result in media frenzies, diminished corporate image, damaged personal lives and tarnished careers. No company is immune from the possibility – every company should become aware, proactive and preventive.

As a Workplace Violence Consultant it is my job to address violence, in all its forms, and to mitigate the potential of it occurring in your workplace.

Talk to an expert about improving your workplace violence initiative.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to Visit us at

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gun - back atcha

There’s been a lot of talk about guns in schools, teachers “packing” so they can “protect students” and so on.  It’s something that has never made me feel more comfortable.  I think there is more room for error than anything else.  A college student once told me that she was more worried about the “crazy teachers going off” than anything else.

And here we have an example of the whacky things that can happen:

Professor drops gun, shoots self in foot

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A Painful Article to Read

What a painful article to read. This is exactly why I urge employers of all types and sizes of businesses to take advantage of Domestic Abuse training.  If this guy had been required to sit in a class he would have learned about his own behaviors – even if by osmosis.  Maybe a spark of recognition would be lit.

That education by osmosis may well have led him to being directed to counseling and resources.  Maybe by self-referral, maybe by employer suggestion.  Behaviors and relationships might have changed.  A woman’s life might have been saved.  Another inmate in our correctional system might have been avoided.  Why are we still avoiding this issue?  Why are we so reluctant to address prevention?  Aren’t you ready to lift the veil of taboo and secrecy?  Aren’t you ready to stop this madness?

Article 7-19-14.pdf

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A Lesson for the Ages

tcp_0237 for blogThose of you who know me well are aware that a couple years ago my family experienced a really dark period of about eight months.  We had an addition to our family; an exchange student who blended with us like she was mysteriously from the same gene pool.  She even looked enough like me that people thought she was my daughter – and that my daughter was a friend.  She and my daughter were inseparable and closer than most sisters.  In fact, our exchange student would often say she was closer to my daughter than to her own sister.  My husband and I were her parents; shopping for clothes, checking report cards, meeting with teachers, going through boyfriend drama – you name it.

What had started as a really joyful few months came to an abrupt halt when the sponsoring organization (you’ll note I’m leaving names out) randomly, and almost by accident, announced they were moving her to another home more than a month before the previously agreed date.

The girls were devastated.  My husband and were I shell-shocked and mystified.  For the next month the four of us counted minutes with foggy brains like we’d taken sleeping pills while trying to stay awake.

The bottom fell out of our lives.  All of us.  My daughter took it the worst.  Her grades went down, her weight went up.

Left to her own devises at her new home, our former exchange student was swooped up by a group of girls that made it their unmitigated mission to ostracize my daughter and sever the two girls’ relationship.  Jealousy and competitiveness turned this group of girls into the embodiment of everything you think of when you think “mean girls”.  Why not, when popularity is the prize?

My daughter did a masterful job of persevering through that dark period. I didn’t want to be an alarmist, but I also was painfully aware that suicide in girls was rising.  It wasn’t easy, but we got through the phase.

Now her social life, her grades and her health are all doing really well.  I think a lot of that came from frequent conversations and encouragement – and letting her know that the pain she felt was temporary.  In a couple years no one would remember.  Or they’d chalk it up to “those crazy teen years”.

I can’t tell you how sad this made me a few weeks ago. I agree so much with Ms. Hull; why are kids so unprepared to deal sadness that is a part of life?

So, if you’re like most parents and looking for resources – here are a few.

How to Help Teens Deal with Rejection

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tcp_0237 for blog

People who’ve had conversations with me often hear me say, “I live, sleep, eat, breathe domestic violence”.  Meaning it’s what I do.

Ha!  Thought you caught me- silly people!  It’s not what I do.  I don’t perpetrated  it!  It’s what I do, what I am, and what I have a passion for as a Consultant Subject Matter Expert – SME.

Even in company Train the Trainer situations the trained individual will lack the in-depth, expertise, knowledge and experience of the SME.  Worse yet, they may have personal biases to the issue.  They may not be able to answer challenging questions or handle uncomfortable situations.  Their facts and statistics may be out of date; all of which may be reflected in the training itself, the outcome for attendees and long term results for the company.

To bring, or keep, an in-house trainer up-to-speed will cost time and money that detracts from their regular duties. All of that is moot when you bring in an SME whose career is based on:

  • being a problem solver to make an immediate impact with minimal ramp-up time,
  • lowers the client’s risk by conveying correct information,
  • is a valuable information resource and provides a wealth of knowledge and support to clients,
  • may serve as liaison to the functional area from which they obtained their expertise or adjacent resources and industries (i.e. Human Resource Essential’s long-term relationships with EAPs, attorneys and shelters),
  • an SME will have strong expertise in one or more areas directly related to their subject,
  • SMEs are often the “go to” people for assistance and up-to-date information on policies, processes, and critical incidents – for example, our clients are comfortable, and even prefer, their employees contact us directly for information and a place to voice personal issues.

Do you expect your in-house trainer to live, sleep, eat, and breathe domestic violence?

SMEs have a passion for their work.  When it comes to something as emotionally demanding as domestic violence – how the material is conveyed will make a significant difference in the outcome.

I’m always happy to talk with you about improving your domestic violence initiative.  Just give me a call at (480) 726-9833 or send an email to I’d love to hear from you.

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Working Poor Tax Credit




On November 7th I had the privilege of being a Table Host at the annual Sojourner Center Hope Luncheon, the Center’s biggest fundraiser and awareness event of the year.  Approximately 1,000 people attended the luncheon at the Fairmont Princess Resort in Scottsdale, AZ.

For many, this was the first opportunity to meet Sojourner’s new Executive Director, Maria Garay, MSW. PhD.  Dr. Garay’s short speech, that afternoon, was enlightening, heartfelt and inspirational.  I can tell you from the few times I’ve had the pleasure to spend time talking with her, she is a truly remarkable person.

I had invited several people who are near and dear to my heart; friends and colleagues whom I thought would enjoy the event and care deeply about the issue of domestic violence in our state.  My guests were:

Bobbie Fox, Esq., SCF Arizona

Terrie Kolker, Hayden & Hayden Insurance

Carl Mangold, LCSW, LISAC Partner in

Deila Mangold, Community Member

Lisa Pressman, singer/songwriter

Tim Ponzek, singer/songwriter

Laura Lawless Robertson, Atty. Squire Sanders

Julie Bernal, Community Member

Cara Lind, Regional Dir. Metabolic Research


Sojourner Center is still in need of on-going support.  You can make that happen with your donation, including the Working Poor Tax Credit.  It’s is easy and costs you nothing!

Simply make a donation to Sojourner Center by December 31, 2013, up to $200 per individual or $400 per couple, and include AZDOR Form 321 when you file your 2013 AZ state income tax.

There are several other ways to donate as well.  All the necessary links can be found here:

Plus, you can make the Working Poor Tax Credit even if you’ve done other tax credits for example, to your child’s soccer program.   Talk to your accountant or CPA.

Thanks for all you can do to help!




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To my readers:  I have the humbling privilege to know Dr. Maria Garay, Sojourner Center’s new Executive Director.  Together we are creating energizing, meaningful initiatives to address relationship violence.  Recently Sojourner published a newsletter to introduce Maria to the community and she has generously allowed me to post her newsletter for you.


Dear Friends & Supporters,

My name is Dr. Maria Garay and I am so excited to be joining the Sojourner Center team as the new Executive Director. I come to Phoenix from Los Angeles, CA and have been working at the executive level for the past twenty years in the human services field. I have been at Sojourner Center since the beginning of September and can already see how special and amazing this place is. I am honored to be a part of this wonderful organization, with its rich history and mission of helping women and children overcome the impact of domestic violence.

You see, ending the cycle of domestic violence is something I am very passionate about. While this is a multi-faceted problem without an easy or clear solution, I believe Sojourner Center has and is ending the cycle of violence for the women and children we serve. I believe you can help us break the cycle of violence too, by talking about this issue and the work we are doing, with your friends, family, and coworkers. A recent study revealed that despite 80% of Americans acknowledging that domestic violence is a problem in our society, only 15% think it is a problem among their friends. We know this can’t be true, since studies show 1-in-4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime.

This widespread silence is a problem for many reasons. First, it makes domestic violence victims feel isolated and alone. Second, the silence perpetuates the shame and embarrassment that domestic violence victims might feel. Third, by not talking about it, people don’t always know how to recognize abuse or how to help someone who is being abused.

Let’s break the silence about domestic violence and make it easier for victims to get the help and support they need.

I also want to make sure you know about two very important numbers. The first is easy to remember, 2-1-1. This is a 24-hour bilingual hotline that will connect people in crisis with domestic violence and homeless shelters throughout Arizona. The second is 602-244-0089, this is Sojourner Center’s 24-hour crisis line. We are available day or night to talk to anyone who may be in crisis have questions about domestic violence, or need help planning how to leave an abusive relationship. I hope you will put these numbers in a safe place where you can find them and share them if you ever need to.

Thank you all for your continued support and partnership with this amazing organization. Together, we can end the cycle of domestic violence for every woman and child we serve.




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