Domestic violence is a very serious matter. Perhaps some of your employees are victims of abuse or domestic violence. This affects their personal wellbeing as well as work lives. And there also exists the possibility that domestic violence may turn into workplace violence. It is vital for organizations to have a climate that encourages employees to come forth and discuss issues related to abuse and domestic violence. Victims of abuse often reach out to a friend or co-worker for support, rather than a qualified counselor.
There is much that employers, co-workers, friends and family members do for those who suffer under the pain of abuse and violence. To begin with, they can lend a listening ear. Victims can be encouraged to speak to a counselor or domestic violence specialist or call a hot line for additional resources and help.
Victims of abuse and violence have often been made to feel powerless—as if somehow they deserve such mistreatment. The may live under the shadow of neglect, exploitation, psychological and physical abuse, sexual violence, manipulation and threats. This is a very serious matter, and people’s lives are often at stake.
As an employer, co-worker, friend, or family member, you cannot make decisions for the victim, but your investment in studying out this issue, understanding the danger that victims live under, and being able to show friendship, understanding and support go a long way. While victims may not be ready to contact a trained specialist, you can find out what specific steps have been recommended so the victim is not put in greater danger. For instance, victims need to understand the importance of having a safe plan for leaving the perpetrator without exposing themselves to deadly violence.
Showing empathy and concern through listening, then, is a good first step, but there are specific do’s and don’ts that need to be understood in order to properly assist individuals suffering from domestic violence.
5 June 2009
Agricultural Labor Management
Gregorio Billikopf Encina
University of California