Margaret is a Research Associate with CREVAWC at Western University. She has been a champion for the Neighbours, Friends and Families program since 2005.
When we began offering workplace education about domestic violence through the Make It Our Business (MIOB) training program, one of early questions we were asked was, “How is domestic violence a problem for employers?” High profile cases like that of Ray Rice and the NFL, and Jian Ghomeshi and the CBC, should make the reasons crystal clear. They are another illustration of how violence that happens in someone’s personal life can have a huge impact on the workplace. The NFL and CBC came under intense fire for the way that they handled the situations. One of our primary MIOB messages is that as an employer, there are actions you can take to be proactive. We know from the 2014 national survey that one in three Canadians experiences domestic violence. Half experience it while they are at work.
In addition to the considerable reputational damage for the organization, there is also significant impact on safety and productivity. Researchers at the Western University and the University of Toronto will release a new study on September 19, taking an unconventional approach to understanding the significant effects of domestic violence in the workplace. By seeking the views of the perpetrators of violence, the study found that domestic violence perpetration, like victimization, has costs to the workplace in terms of worker safety and productivity and that most employers lack adequate resources to help perpetrators deal with the issue.
The findings show:
What to do:
The best place to start: learn to recognize the warning signs and high risk factors. If you have supervisory responsibilities, make sure your staff are trained and know what to do when they first see signs. We all have a role to play in creating safe and supportive workplaces!
Check out our free online risk assessment course: http://onlinetraining.learningtoendabuse.ca