Domestic Violence Prevention -A Workplace Issue

By Dianne Williams, Chair of Yukon Regional Health and Safety Committee 

One may question what domestic violence has to do with the workplace and it doesn’t take much to understand the overlap. The pan-Canadian survey conducted in 2014 called, “Can Work Be Safe, When Home Isn’t”, look at the links between personal life and work life and the results are surprising.

The survey defined domestic violence as: any form of physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse, including financial control, stalking and harassment. It occurs between opposite or same sex intimate partners, who may be married, common law, or living together. It can also continue to happen after a relationship has ended.

Domestic violence in the workplace can be abusive phone calls, stalking/harassment, abuser physically comes to the workplace, abusive mail messages, abuser contacts co-worker. According to the survey 53% of the domestic violence continues at work.

PSAC conducted a pilot training workshop in June 2018, for representatives from across Canada. The program is designed to identify how to be an advocate in the workplace. The role is to support employees who may be experiencing domestic violence outside the workplace and recognize those who may be perpetrators.

RECOGNIZE, RESPOND, REFER – this is the model the program is based on. The strategy is to interrupt the isolation and identify how to start conversations. The advocate would support a victim by inviting a conversation based on observations (SEE IT), then if warranted (NAME IT), and later follow up (CHECK IT). The next step would be to assist the victim by being a liaison with human resources, developing a safe work plan with human resources and providing referral information. A workplace safety plan is a proactive measure to ensuring co-workers are aware of potential situations and guidelines on how to react. Perhaps if there had been a safe work plan in place at  the Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor, there would have been a different outcome for the tragic case of Lori Dupont and Dr. Marc Daniels (2005).

The expertise is not in the workplace, the support can be. Staying employed is very important element that allows victims the means to make a change in their life. If you would like to arrange a short presentation to your local or in your workplace, on ‘Domestic Violence Prevention in the Workplace’ contact the PSAC regional office in your community. See it, Name it, Check it!

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