It has been my observation that the anticipated response to the age old question ‘how are you?’ has evolved from the vague, but generally optimistic ‘fine, and you?’ to ‘BUSY’. The deeper I dig, the more I realize that almost everyone I know is carefully teetering their way across the tight-rope we call life, straining to balance the cyclical demands of their everyday- family, friends, career, health, education, professional development, care of dependents, recreation, social obligations, volunteerism. The list goes on and on.
Survivors of domestic or sexual violence should not have to choose between their job and their safety. That’s the basic principle behind my Private Members’ Bill, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act (Bill 26), which provides survivors with up to 10 days of paid leave for specific purposes related to or arising from the violence. These include seeking medical attention, accessing counselling, meeting with police or lawyers, or finding a new place to live (often an urgent challenge for women and their children who are fleeing violence). The bill also provides for additional unpaid leave if necessary, as well as workplace accommodations – such as changes to hours or location of work – and mandatory workplace training on domestic and sexual violence.
The winter holiday season creates many expectations for a time of joy. Television commercials, stores, online advertisements, all show images of happy families and friends celebrating together and enjoying the holiday celebrations.
This isn’t the reality for everyone, though. For many people the holidays are filled with sadness, anxiety or pain. This time of year can bring up difficult memories or bring us into contact with people who we would rather not see. It is especially tough for those who have lost a loved one or are going through difficult times. For some, family get-togethers can bring up painful memories or fears. Others might feel very alone and isolated at this time of year, with limited resources and support.
The tragic death of Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji has left three children without a mother and a community of family members, friends and colleagues shocked and grieving. Her husband, Dr. Mohammed Shamji has been charged with her murder. Police have since revealed that her husband was previously charged with one count of assault and two counts of uttering death threats in May 2005.
Work holiday parties are a great way to end the year. They’re good opportunities to socialize with your co-workers and talk about things you might otherwise not get a chance to on a daily basis. They’re also a time where many employees bring spouses or partners to meet their coworkers. And while it can be fun and exciting to meet your co-worker’s partner, there might be something you should be on the lookout for that hasn’t even crossed your mind.
‘Tis the season for holiday work parties. With many people celebrating during the month of December - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and others - most workplaces also celebrate with a party of their own. These parties are often a fun time, a chance to chat with co-workers about non-work related subjects, and a sometimes-rare opportunity to hang out with people you see every day, outside of the workplace.
Domestic violence is an issue that affects us all. You might have even experienced it firsthand yourself. Or maybe you have a friend, a family member, or a co-worker who has been in an abusive relationship. There’s also a chance that someone you know has experienced violence at the hand of a partner, but you’re not even aware of it. Domestic violence is far-reaching and the emotional, physical and financial implications can be long-lasting.
Domestic 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.
Assistant Executive Director at Women's Community House
Acts of kindness come easily to some and not so easily to others. I think we sometimes make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Every four days in Canada, a woman dies at the hands of a family member. And every single day, there are over 230 reported victims of domestic violence. Family violence is a serious health issue that affects many Canadians. Even more startling is that this abuse is also very under-reported. Reports estimate that only 30% of people report domestic abuse.