The endeavour was a joint initiative and effort between numerous people, including the MIOB Committee at the County of Lambton and Joe Solinas, the Health & Safety Coordinator at the County of Lambton. Knowing how passionate the Committee and Joe are about the importance of this training, we reached out to see if they could share their thoughts. Here, Joe lets us know why they feel it is crucial that employees take training regarding a problem that is often seen as a ‘private family matter’ yet in reality often reaches far beyond into the workplace as well.
The County of Lambton's journey started in early 2013, when we partnered with Margaret MacPherson and Tracy Rogers from Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAWC). Margaret and Tracy were asked to facilitate a session on Domestic Violence and its potential of entering the workplace.
In attendance there were members from Senior Management, Human Resources and Union elected officials for the two-day interactive session, where we learned about signs/symptoms, risk factors, SNC It Conversations and the various local resources we have in Lambton. This session provided a wealth of information and opened the eyes of everyone in attendance on the seriousness and complexity of domestic violence.
In early 2014, employees from various County of Lambton facilities came together to establish a working committee, which would later be identified as the Make It Our Business (MIOB) Committee. The MIOB Committee's goal was, and continues to be, increasing awareness of all County employees so that they can recognize the warning signs of domestic violence, respond supportively, refer those in need to available corporate and community resources, and report risks for the safety of all.
After developing an action plan to ensure that our employees had suitable options for delivering the Domestic Violence Awareness Training, our committee put the plan into action. By early 2016, the MIOB Committee implemented the training county wide with a goal of having all County employees trained by the end of 2016.
In total, the County of Lambton has held over 20 facilitated sessions at different locations throughout Lambton, as well has had 1,065 employees complete domestic violence training. Overall, this training was well received and is an initiative that we are proud to continue to support.
I appreciate and thank all the employees at CREVAWC for allowing us to not only participate in its development, but also be recognized as a champion of this important initiative.
This continues to be an important initiative for the County as it allows us to educate staff on the warning signs of domestic violence, as well as the local resources available for those in need. Since the roll-out of training, we have developed policies and procedures that are geared towards the County's commitment to providing a supportive work environment. Our hope is that if we continue to educate staff on domestic violence and prevention, no one will ever feel scared, embarrassed or ashamed to speak out or ask for help. We hope the training can help others recognize signs of domestic violence in order to help others and work toward the ultimate goal of eliminating domestic violence.