5 Ways to Help a Co-Worker Who is Being Abused

Two hands reaching for each other. Background is the skyDomestic abuse doesn’t stay in the home. It often follows the victim to work, resulting in issues for the victim, a disruptive workplace or even safety concerns for the victim and co-workers. The workplace is also where many people spend a large majority of their days, so co-workers and supervisors are often in one of the best situations to recognize any signs of abuse. Read up on the common warning signs of domestic abuse. If you believe someone you work with is being abused by a partner or other family member, there are a number of steps you can take to help.

  1. Talk to your co-worker. Find a good time and a private and confidential setting where you can let your co-worker know they have your support and help. Offer to help in any way you can and feel comfortable with. This is often the first step in having your co-worker confide in you and then seeking the help she or he really needs. Here are some good tips on communicating with an employee at risk.
  2. Provide Information. Make sure your co-worker knows about any domestic workplace policies as well as phone numbers and contact information for the local women’s shelter, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline and any other relevant contacts.
  3. Listen. Offer an ear just to listen. Your co-worker might be afraid or ashamed but still really wants to confide in someone. Let him or her know that you will listen with an open and non-judgmental ear.
  4. Talk to a Supervisor If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your co-worker or they don’t want to talk to you, let someone above you know about your suspicions and concerns. Leaving the situation could allow it to escalate to a dangerous level and also become incredibly disruptive to the workplace. While it’s crucial to help in any way you can, make sure you never put yourself in an unsafe situation. A supervisor or manager can take necessary steps if you are unable to.
  5. Ensure your workplace has a domestic violence policy in place. This policy not only protects the victim, but it also protects co-workers and any other fellow employees in case an instance should occur in the workplace. Check that safety measures are in place.

Man and Woman having coffee and chatting.

For more information on dealing with domestic violence in the workplace as well as resources for employers, check out these guidelines for the workplace. They’ll help guide you through everything that needs to be done, from developing a policy, to setting up security measures, as well as preventing and managing risks and workplace incidents.