When it comes to mental health and the workplace, companies have been taking steps to help support their employees in a variety of ways for many years now. For example, there are stress leave and on-site perks like yoga, meditation, massage and even childcare to help reduce people’s stress. However, it has only been recently, when more worldwide discussion around the subject of abuse has taken place, that the subject of domestic violence has landed on employers’ radars.
Domestic violence is, unfortunately, something occurring globally, and it can have a huge impact on the employees going through it. Business owners and managers are therefore paying attention to the issue, particularly as reports come to light showing that this problem causes organizations to lose millions of dollars’ worth of productivity each year.
Whether you’re suffering from abuse in the home right now yourself, know someone who is or want to support other workers who are struggling, it’s important to know some of the ways companies are getting involved. Read on for more.
Learning About the Problem
One of the most important steps businesses are taking is having workers learn about the problem. To take appropriate steps to address domestic violence and make wise choices for employees, managers must understand how it works, after all.
For instance, employers need to get clear on the fact that it can affect anyone, and that there isn’t just one type of victim. Abuse can affect people of all ages, races, educational backgrounds, socioeconomic levels and more. It also comes in a variety of forms, not just physical. There is emotional, verbal and financial abuse in the mix, too.
In addition, managers and other staff members must learn that domestic violence isn’t perpetrated just by psychopaths, sociopaths or angry, volatile people. It’s often not at all obvious that someone may be an abuser because they can seem very charming to external parties.
Employers now often take steps to build awareness, in the office, of domestic violence and how it does and doesn’t work, including its cycles. Every employee needs to understand the issue, whether this learning is addressed through employee orientation programs, specific training courses or handbooks, brochures, emails, posters, intranet sites etc.
Providing a Supportive Environment
To aid victims, businesses are doing what they can to create a supportive environment for workers who are affected by domestic violence. Often, staff members gain access to numerous resources. In addition to information about the signs of abuse, statistics of its occurrence and other details, workers may be able to take time away from work to attend police interviews and court hearings or to see doctors for medical attention.
Some companies are also giving sufferers the ability to attend counseling sessions or receive other mental health support. They may give employees access to trained staff members who can help them come up with coping and legal/family law strategies.
See if your firm has someone on the payroll who is appropriately trained, such as with a psychology degree or via a social work course online or similar. People who have worked specifically in the field of domestic violence are the best option. Alternatively, employees may be directed to external practitioners who can be of assistance outside the office.
Creating Policies and Procedures
To develop a working environment that supports victims of domestic abuse, companies must create policies and procedures for team members to follow. This takes out the constant guess work and keeps things consistent. For example, policies may address the types of resources on offer, who can access them and when and what types of job protection is offered to people who miss work days because of the effects of domestic violence.
Company policies are also starting to detail the protocol for situations where abusers are found to be working within the organization. It shouldn’t matter how popular or vital to the team these people are; employers still need to be prepared to discipline and, as needed, terminate perpetrators.
Firms may draw up procedures that give details of a response plan in risky situations, too. For example, a picture and description of known abusers might be given to security and to human resources staff, so perpetrators are prohibited from entering the building and getting access to victims. Planning can also note what workers should do if anyone is in imminent danger.
The emergency contact details for the victim of domestic violence need to be on file, so if they’re ever unreachable and don’t come in to work, or if colleagues are concerned about their safety for other reasons, they know who to get in touch with.