Domestic violence costs perpetrators’ workplaces too: Western, U of T researchers find

Original Article: Jacquelyn LeBel, Global News | Oct. 24, 2017

Researchers at Western University and the University of Toronto took an unusual approach when investigating the impacts of domestic violence on the workplace by focusing on the perpetrators and their workplaces.

The study released on Tuesday found that, like victimization, perpetration costs the workplace in terms of worker safety and productivity.

Barb MacQuarrie, community director of the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children at Western University said no workplace is immune.

“Domestic violence happens in all work settings, in all sectors, all sizes of workplace. Seventy-one per cent of employers in Canada and 55 per cent of government employers have reported situations in which they needed to protect a victim of domestic violence.”

Katreena Scott, Canada research chair in Family Violence Prevention and Intervention at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, noted that 500 perpetrators of domestic violence were surveyed for the study.

“One-third of our respondents reported being in contact with their partner or ex-partner during work hours,” said Scott.

“The kinds of actions that men reported, were saying or engaging in deliberately hurtful or engaging things or using workplace time and resources to drop by her home or place of employment to ensure that she was where she said she was going to be.”

The researchers collaborated with 22 of Ontario’s Partner Assault Response programs to conduct the surveys, which included respondents from across Ontario. The vast majority were heterosexual men who were referred to intervention by the criminal justice system.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of those surveyed reported that violence issues negatively affect their job performance.

As well, the majority of respondents indicated they weren’t aware of any resources available to them in the workplace to help them deal with issues related to domestic violence.

Researchers say prevention and intervention need to address not just victims, but those who perpetrate domestic violence.