Domestic violence is in the national spotlight due to the National Football League scandal.
In short, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demonstrated a flagrant lack of judgment when he handed a star player a two-game suspension for a disturbing domestic violence incident. The incident was captured on video and showed the player manhandling his unconscious fiancée off an Atlantic City casino elevator.
The commissioner later modified the NFL policy after public outrage on the video that went viral.
Domestic Violence Statistics
Statistics found on the Partnership Against Domestic Violence website include these:
- Nearly 5.3 million incidents occur each year among U.S. women ages 18 and older. This violence results in nearly 2 million injuries and nearly 1,300 deaths.
- One in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
- On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States.
- 15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which domestic violence occurred at least once in the past year. Seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred.
- One in three teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked, or physically hurt by their partner.
With domestic violence initiatives, I always call for ethical courage. Society must do everything possible to prevent and assist all afflicted by the scourge of domestic violence.
If our awareness, planning, and action, as either an individual, corporation, law enforcement agency, or community organization, can save even one person from suffering, then we must do all we can to prevent a tragedy.
When it comes to even one life, we must do what is morally right, not what is convenient, politically expedient, publicity seeking, or cost-effective.
In simplest terms, we must learn to care for one another.
Domestic Violence at the Workplace
Aside from concerns in families and communities, domestic violence is also an issue at work. It involves behaviors that interfere with an individual’s ability to perform. Problems include harassing, repeated telephone calls, text messages, and emails, unauthorized appearances at work, restraining order violations, assaults, and even homicide.
Domestic violence not only endangers the abused employee but can also be an endangerment to the entire workforce.
These issues can also place a liability on employers who do not take reasonable measures to safeguard employees. Yet employers have more than a legal concern to prevent domestic violence. Each of us has a moral obligation to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
To this end, an objective assessment of the company’s culture (including policies, procedures, training, employee assistance, and professional development) must be a top priority. Training must be comprehensive and include ethics, the cycle of violence, policies, procedures, law enforcement issues, and warning signs.
It is difficult to know what is happening in a coworker’s personal life, however these are some warning signs developed by www.helpguide.org:
- Frequent injuries with the excuse of accidents
- Frequent and sudden absences
- Fear of the partner
- References to the partner’s anger
- Personality changes, including social withdrawal
- Excessive fear of conflict
- Inordinate submissive behavior
- Isolation from others
- Insufficient financial resources due to the partner’s control
- Depression, low self-esteem, crying
Knowing and responding to warning signs is the first step in creating a supportive workplace with employees who care.
A Collaborative Response
A unity of effort is necessary for a safe workplace including the employer, employees, law enforcement, security, human resources, and employee assistance.
Victims of domestic violence often need our help. We must respond and give them hope. Sometimes this is best expressed through a simple question, “Are you safe at home?”
Each of us must have the courage to listen, care, and respond with ethical courage to the answer.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com