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Work-Life Reference Materials

 

Introduction

Responding to Domestic Violence: Where Federal Employees Can Find Help

If you are in an abusive relationship ...

This guide is primarily for you. It contains up-to-date information about the problem of adult domestic violence. Most important, it is intended to help you in your day-to-day efforts to stay safe.

As you read this guide, please remember:
You are not alone. You are not to blame. You do not deserve to be abused.

Domestic violence is a serious crime which often results in serious injury and even death. In the United States in 1996, women experienced 840,000 rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault victimizations at the hands of an intimate partner, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The percentage of female murder victims killed by intimate partners has remained at about 30% since 1976.

If you know someone who is being abused ...

This guide will tell you how you can be most helpful to people who are in abusive relationships, whether they are your co-workers or employees you supervise, friends or family, neighbors or acquaintances. If the victim is a Federal employee, this guide outlines management tools, personnel flexibilities, and entitlements that can help her cope with the situation and stay productive on the job. Unions, Employee Assistance Programs, or workplace violence teams should also find information in this guide useful in their efforts to provide empowering and supportive assistance to people in abusive relationships.

Are you in an abusive relationship?

Recognizing what behaviors are part of domestic violence is not always easy, even for victims themselves. This is in part because domestic violence is much more than physical abuse. In fact, many women who are controlled by their partners and who live in danger and fear have never been physically assaulted. In the early stages, the pattern of abuse is hard to recognize. People in abusive relationships, however, consistently report that the abuse gets worse over time. The following checklist of behaviors may help you decide if you or someone you know is being abused.

Does your partner...

Use emotional and psychological control?

  • call you names, yell, put you down, make racial or other slurs, or constantly criticize or undermine you and your abilities as a wife, partner, or mother?
  • behave in an overprotective way or become extremely jealous?
  • prevent you from going where you want to, when you want to, and with whomever you choose as a companion?
  • humiliate or embarrass you in front of other people?

Use economic control?

  • deny you access to family assets like bank accounts, credit cards, or a car?
  • control all the finances, force you to account for what you spend, or take your money?
  • prevent or try to prevent you from getting or keeping a job or from going to school?
  • limit your access to health, prescription or dental insurance?

Make threats?

  • threaten to report you to the authorities (the police or child protective services) for something you didn't do?
  • threaten to harm or kidnap the children?
  • display weapons as a way of making you afraid or directly threaten you with weapons?
  • use his anger or "loss of temper" as a threat to get you to do what he wants?

Commit acts of physical violence?

  • carry out threats to hurt you, your children, pets, family members, friends, or himself?
  • destroy personal property or throw things around?
  • grab, push, hit, punch, slap, kick, choke, or bite you?
  • force you to have sex when you don't want to or to engage in sexual acts that you don't want to do?

These are some of the most common tactics used by abusers to control their partners, but certainly not the only ones. If your partner does things that restrict your personal freedom or that make you afraid, you may be in an abusive relationship.

You are not alone. Millions of women are abused by their partners every year. The good news is that more resources are available now than ever before to help women be safe. This guide can tell you where to find these resources and how to get help from the Federal workplace.

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Section I

Places to Turn for Help in the Federal Workplace

(Photocopy and Keep Handy)

  • Your supervisor can help you implement a safety plan by using a variety of management tools available to Federal employees. Phone number: _______________
  • Your security office can help you implement your safety plan at work and advise you about how to stay safe off-duty. Phone number: _______________
  • Your Employee Assistance Program can offer you short-term counseling and referrals to community resources. Phone number: _______________
  • Your union can be a source of support, advice, information, and referral. Phone number: _______________
  • Your co-workers can help you by screening phone calls and notifying security and/or police if your abuser comes to the workplace. Phone number/s:_______________
  • Your human resources office can explain the terms of your pay and leave benefits and other workplace flexibilities in place at your agency that you may wish to explore. Phone number: _______________
  • Your health unit can treat minor injuries and can refer you to appropriate resources in your community. Phone number: _______________

*For immediate crisis intervention, information and referrals, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at
1-800-799-7233.

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For the Person in an Abusive Relationship: How to Find Help and Plan for Your Safety

If you are in an abusive relationship, you probably know more about planning for your safety and assessing your risks than you realize. Being in a relationship with an abusive partner - and surviving - requires considerable skill and resourcefulness. Any time you do or say something as a way to protect yourself and your children, you are assessing risk and enacting a safety plan.

Safety planning is a process of identifying options, evaluating those options, and developing a detailed plan to reduce your risk when confronted with the threat of harm or actual harm. The value of any safety plan depends on identifying options that are meaningful and workable for you. This section of the guide helps you to identify sources of help. In this section, you will find descriptions of the kind of help available from national and community programs for domestic violence as well as sources of help from the Federal workplace, including information about the personnel flexibilities available to employees.

Since abusive encounters often allow little time for careful thought, many people find it helpful to think through possible situations before they happen and to develop a comprehensive plan for how to respond. The Personalized Safety Checklist provided on page 16 is a tool you may want to use to expand and record your own safety plan.

If you are planning to leave your partner or have already left, be aware that abusers often escalate their violence during periods of separation, increasing your risk for harm, including serious and life-threatening injury. Whether you are currently with your partner or not, a safety plan can reduce your risk of being harmed.

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Know the National and Community Resources That Can Help

National Hotline

The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) is available 24 hours a day to provide immediate crisis intervention, information, and referrals. The hotline will refer callers directly to the appropriate kind of help in their own communities, including emergency services and shelters. Also, counselors can offer information, referrals, and counseling to survivors of domestic violence, family members, neighbors, and the general public. The TDD number for the hearing impaired is 1-800-787-3224. The hotline is prepared to help Spanish speaking callers and other non-English speakers.

Local Domestic Violence Programs

Local domestic violence programs, which provide free and confidential assistance to persons in abusive relationships and their children, can be a vital resource. Either your Employee Assistance Program at work or the National Hotline can help you find local domestic violence programs. Emergency safety services, such as shelters and 24-hour crisis hotlines, may also be available. You don't have to stay in a shelter to get help from a domestic violence program. Most programs provide a full range of non-shelter related services to people in abusive relationships. Domestic violence programs are generally well-informed about the services available to help you, so ask them for information and referrals. Referrals are frequently available for:

  • health-related services including primary care, family planning, pre-natal care, routine exams, pediatric care, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases;
  • low-income housing programs, relocation assistance;
  • alcohol/other drug recovery programs, mental health services, children's counseling services, parenting programs, support groups through women's centers, grief groups, and Parents Without Partners;
  • child protective services;
  • culturally-specific services and groups, including services and information regarding immigrants' rights;
  • educational opportunities, including high school graduate equivalency or college degree programs, English as a second language classes, trade schools, and scholarship, grant, and stipend programs; and
  • programs that assist with job training and placement, professional development, resume writing, interviewing skills, and job searches.

Domestic Violence Advocates

Domestic violence advocates may be available through a local domestic violence program or through the court. A domestic violence advocate may be able to tell you about your legal rights and the services available in your community, help you weigh the pros and cons of using the court system, and "walk you through" the entire process of making a police report, obtaining an order of protection, filing a violation, or petitioning for custody. In addition to giving you good information, advocates can often accompany you to court, to the police station, or to social services and provide you with practical and emotional support. They can refer you to community agencies for help with the wide range of issues you may face.

Getting help from someone who has experience working with victims of domestic violence and who knows how to work with the different systems, including the police, the courts, local hospitals and social services, can make things a lot easier for you. However, advocacy services vary from one community to another. Some advocates are able to provide more assistance than others. If you need help in locating a domestic violence advocate, ask your Employee Assistance Program counselor for assistance. If you cannot find an advocate, have a trusted friend or family member accompany you to dealings with the court system.

Other Resources in Your Community

It's important to develop as much support as you can. Think about contacting the following people to find out what kind of help you can get:

  • Counselor, social worker, therapist
  • Gynecologist and other physicians
  • Friends, family, neighbors
  • Religious congregation member, minister, rabbi, priest, or other religious leader
  • Women's centers or senior centers
  • Teachers, school counselors, Parent/Teacher Associations
  • Department of Social Services caseworker

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Know Your Federal Workplace Resources

  • Your supervisors can help you implement a safety plan by using a variety of management tools available in the Federal personnel system. For example, they may be able to adjust your time and place of work, and you may be eligible for one of several types of leave if you need to take time off. Your supervisor, at your request, can initiate a team response from different departments within your agency to implement a safety plan at work.
  • Your security office can help you implement your safety plan at work and advise you about how to stay safe off-duty. At work, for example, security personnel may keep a photo of the abusing person at the guard's desk or escort you to and from your car. Your agency may also have an interdisciplinary workplace violence team to help you.
  • Your Employee Assistance Program can offer you short-term counseling and referral to community resources. They can help you get in touch with a local domestic violence program, financial counseling, programs for children, or whatever services you need. This program is free and confidential.
  • Your unioncan be a source of support, advice, information, and referral.
  • Your co-workers can help you by screening phone calls and keeping an eye out for your abuser.
  • Your human resources office can explain the terms of your pay and leave benefits and other workplace flexibilities in place at your agency that you may wish to explore. The human resources office can also answer questions about performance or conduct issues.
  • Your health unit in addition to being a source of treatment for minor injuries, can refer you to appropriate resources in your community for help with domestic violence.

* Note: Anyone you turn to in the workplace for help should honor your requests for confidentiality. However, be aware that you cannot always get absolute assurances since there are limits to confidentiality where a threat of danger exists.

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Know Your Federal Workplace Options and Flexibilities

If you are in an abusive relationship, there are powerful tools at your Federal workplace to protect your safety and help you to rebuild your life. You may need time off to go to court, find a new place to live, or recover from injuries. You may need a different workspace or a different schedule to keep the abuser from tracking you down on the job. These tools are not labeled specifically as "domestic violence" measures, but are simply the flexibilities and entitlements available to every Federal employee under appropriate circumstances.

First Consider Paid Leave Options

There are many leave options available for Federal employees. Check with your supervisor or your human resources office for your agency policy and procedures for requesting leave.

Annual Leave

As a full-time Federal employee, you earn 13 to 26 days per year of annual leave. This leave is yours to use for whatever purpose you wish; do not hesitate to schedule your leave with your supervisor if you feel you need it.

Sick Leave

You have the right to use your accrued sick leave when you are incapacitated and cannot perform your duties due to illness, injury, or to get medical care.

Sick Leave for Family Medical Care

As a Federal employee, you may use specified amounts of your sick leave to give care to a family member with an illness or injury. The regulations cite some of the specific conditions under which sick leave can be used for family care -- for physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, childbirth, medical, dental or optical exam or treatment, or to make arrangements for or to attend the funeral of a family member.

Specifically, full-time employees can use up to 40 hours of sick leave each year for family medical care without regard to their sick leave balance. For employees who maintain an 80-hour balance in their sick leave accounts at all times, an additional 64 hours can be used each year for family care.

Leave Transfer

Leave transfer allows Federal employees to voluntarily donate annual leave to other Federal employees who have exhausted their own leave and have a medical emergency, or who need to care for a family member who has a medical emergency. Any Federal employee can apply to become a leave transfer recipient, but may accrue no more than 40 hours of annual and sick leave while using shared leave. For a personal medical emergency, you must use your annual and sick leave before applying for leave transfer. For a family medical emergency, you must use your annual leave and the sick leave flexibilities for family medical care before applying for leave transfer. If your agency operates a leave bank program, there may be other options available. Check with your human resources office.

Advanced Sick or Annual Leave

Specifically, full-time employees can use up to 40 hours of sick leave each year for family medical care without regard to their sick leave balance. For employees who maintain an 80-hour balance in their sick leave accounts at all times, an additional 64 hours can be used each year for family care.

Unpaid Leave Options are Available

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) gives employees nationwide the option to use up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period (beginning when the employee first uses the leave) for specified family and medical needs.

As a person who is in an abusive relationship, you may suffer from effects of physical and emotional abuse that require medical attention. Your children or parents may also be abused, or may suffer from the stress of living in a violent home. You may request family medical leave to care for your children or parents who are suffering from a serious health condition.

Leave Without Pay

Another leave option is Leave Without Pay (LWOP). Since LWOP is considered an approved absence, you must request it. The granting of LWOP is at the discretion of the agency in most cases.

Alternative Work Arrangements Can Offer Safety and Support

Telecommuting

In some cases, you are best protected if you are able to report to a different work location, if just for a short time. Telecommuting can be a key part of your safety plan. More and more, agencies are offering telecommuting options to employees, so together with your supervisor and human resources staff, this may be easy to arrange, at least for a short period, to protect both your safety and the safety of the workplace. Under a telecommuting arrangement, you may have the option to work at home or at a "satellite" or telecenter (an alternate office setting for employees who otherwise would travel a longer distance between home and work) for all or part of the work week.

Ask your human resources office about the possibility of using a telecenter in your area. Telecenters are being established across the country at a growing rate and are currently available to Federal employees in Atlanta, Georgia; King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Seattle, Washington, as well as numerous cities in California and the Washington DC metropolitan area.

Temporary Job Assignment

In situations where telecommuting cannot be accommodated, consider asking for a temporary assignment that can place you in a different location for the time necessary to achieve safety.

Work Schedule Flexibilities

Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one, which can be the case with alternative work schedules. If you are juggling different demands, life transitions, or have safety concerns, a flexible work schedule, which adjusts when your work day begins and ends, may be a very suitable arrangement. A compressed work schedule, which allows you to work longer days and complete an 80-hour pay period in less than ten days, may be better for your situation. If you need more time away from work, other options worth exploring are part-time employment or job sharing. Job sharing is a form of part-time employment where two part-time employees share the duties of a single full-time position.

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Ask For Help

Once you've identified the resources that can help you, enhance your safety even more by talking to them, before there is a crisis, to find out what they are willing and able to do for you. The more specific you are with them about what you need, the more likely it is that you'll get the help you're looking for. That way, you will know in advance if you have a place to stay, a source of financial assistance, or a trusted person to keep copies of your important papers.

As a Federal employee, you can take comfort in knowing that there are protections in place to keep you from being retaliated against or terminated for asking someone at work for help. And as this guide explains, there are many forms of help available in the Federal workplace, so don't hesitate to ask for the help you need.

It can sometimes be hard to ask for help. But you deserve help, and you may need it. And most people really do want to help. No person in an abusive relationship has control over her partner's violence, but people can and do find ways to reduce their risk of harm.

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Write Out a Safety Plan

Writing out a safety plan helps you to evaluate the risks and benefits of different options and identify ways to reduce risks. The checklist that follows can help you in your planning by pointing out issues you may need to address. There's no right or wrong way to develop a safety plan. Use what applies. Add to it. Change it to reflect your particular situation. Make it your own, then review it regularly and make changes as needed. You don't have to figure it all out on your own. Ask your Employee Assistance Program counselor at work or a domestic violence advocate for help.

Remember that abusive partners tend to escalate violence when their partners try to separate. With this in mind, make special efforts to keep your written safety plan away from your partner. If you're unable to find a safe place to keep a written safety plan -- where your partner will not find it -- ask a friend to keep a copy for you. If you're working with your local domestic violence program, you can ask them to keep a copy of your plan for you. Whether it's safe to write down your plan or not, it's still important to make one. Ideally, you will have your safety options committed to memory.

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Personalized Safety Plan

Being ready for a crisis

Print a copy of this personalized safety checklist

Planning to leave

  • If I decide to leave, I will __________________________________________. (Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells or fire escapes would you use?)
  • I can keep my purse and car keys ready and put them _____________ in order to leave quickly.
  • I will leave money and an extra set of keys with _________________ so I can leave quickly.
  • I will keep copies of important documents or keys at _____________________.
  • If I have to leave my home, I will go ____________________.
  • If I cannot go to the above location, I can go __________________________________.
  • The domestic violence hotline number is _____________. I can call it if I need shelter.
  • If it's not safe to talk openly, I will use ______________ as the code word/signal to my children that we are going to go, or to my family or friends that we are coming.
  • I can leave extra clothes with ___________________.

I can use my judgment

  • When I expect my partner and I are going to argue, I will try to move to a space that is lowest risk, such as _________. (Try to avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons, or in rooms without an outside exit.)
  • I will use my judgment and intuition. If the situation is very serious, I can give my partner what he wants to try and calm him down. I have to protect myself until I/we are out of danger.
  • I can also teach some of these strategies to some/all of my children, as appropriate.
  • I will keep important numbers and change for phone calls with me at all times. I know that my partner can learn who I've been talking to by looking at phone bills, so I can see if friends will let me use their phones and/or their phone credit cards.
  • I will check with ___________and _______________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me money, if I need it.
  • I can increase my independence by opening a bank account and getting credit cards in my own name; taking classes or getting job skills; getting copies of all the important papers and documents I might need and keeping them with __________________.
  • Other things I can do to increase my independence include: ________________________________________________.
  • I can rehearse my escape plan and, if appropriate, practice it with my children.
  • If I have a joint bank account with my partner, I can make arrangements to ensure I will have access to money.

I can get help

  • I can tell _________________ about the violence and request that they call the police if they hear noises coming from my house.
  • I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and the fire department. I will make sure they know the address.
  • If I have a programmable phone, I can program emergency numbers and teach my children how to use the auto dial.
  • I will use _______________ as my code word with my children or my friends so they will call for help.

After I Leave

  • I can enhance the locks on my doors and windows.
  • I can replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.
  • I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
  • I can purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second floor windows.
  • I can install smoke detectors and put fire extinguishers on each floor in my home.
  • I will teach my children how to use the phone to make a collect call to me if they are concerned about their safety.
  • I can tell people who take care of my children which people have permission to pick them up and make sure they know how to recognize those people.
  • I will give the people who take care of my children copies of custody and protective orders, and emergency numbers.

At Work and in Public

  • I can inform security, my supervisor and/or the Employee Assistance Program about my situation. Phone numbers to have at work are _______.
  • I can ask __________________to screen my calls at work or have my phone number changed.
  • When leaving work, I can ______ ____________________________.
  • When traveling to and from work, if there's trouble, I can__________.
  • I can ask for a flexible schedule.
  • I can ask for a parking space closer to the building.
  • I can ask to move my workspace to a safer location.
  • I can ask security to escort me to and from my car.
  • I can change my patterns to avoid places where my partner might find me, such as ______________________, (stores, banks, laundromats).
  • I can tell ______________ and ____________________ that I am no longer with my partner and ask them to call the police if they believe my children or I are in danger.
  • I can explore the option of telecommuting with my supervisor and human resources office.

With an Order of Protection

  • I will keep my protection order_________, where I know it will be safe.
  • I will give copies of my protection order to police departments in the community in which I live and those where I visit friends and family.
  • I will give copies to my employer, my religious advisor, my closest friend, my children's school and day care center and____________.
  • If my partner destroys my protection order or if I lose it, I can get another copy from the court that issued it.
  • If my partner violates the order, I can call the police and report a violation, contact my attorney, call my advocate, and/or advise the court of the violation.
  • I can call a domestic violence program if I have questions about how to enforce an order or if I have problems getting it enforced.

Items to Take When Leaving

  • Identification for myself
  • Children's birth certificates
  • My birth certificate
  • Social Security cards
  • School/vaccination records
  • Money, checkbook, bank books, cash cards
  • Credit cards
  • Medication/prescription cards
  • Keys house, car, office
  • Driver's license/car registration
  • Insurance papers
  • Public Assistance ID/Medicaid Cards
  • Passports, work permits
  • Divorce or separation papers
  • Lease, rental agreement or house deed
  • Car/mortgage payment book
  • Children's toys, security blankets, stuffed animals
  • Sentimental items, photos
  • My Personalized Safety Plan

My Emotional Health

  • If I am feeling down, lonely, or confused, I can call _________ or the domestic violence hotline_________________.
  • I can take care of my physical health by getting a checkup with my doctor, gynecologist, and dentist. If I don't have a doctor, I will call the local clinic or ___________ to get one.
  • If I have left my partner and am considering returning, I will call ____________________ or spend time with __________ before I make a decision.
  • I will remind myself daily of my best qualities. They are: ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
  • I can attend support groups, workshops, or classes at the local domestic violence program or __________________ in order to build a support system, learn skills or get information.
  • I will look at how and when I drink alcohol. If I am going to drink, I will do it in a place where people are committed to my safety.
  • I can explore information available on the websites listed in the back of this guide.
  • Other things I can do to feel stronger are: __________________________________

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Remember, there are many obstacles to achieving safety or to ending a relationship with a violent partner, and the choices women confront are not risk-free.

Decisions that are beneficial in the long-run, such as leaving the abuser or obtaining a protective order, can actually increase immediate danger for the woman and her children. Safety planning is the process of evaluating the risks and benefits of different options and identifying ways to reduce risks.

Section II

For the Manager: How the Workplace can Increase Safety and Provide Support

Domestic Violence is a Workplace Issue

The effects of domestic violence can show up at work in the form of reduced work productivity, absenteeism, increased medical expenses, and increased risk of violence at the workplace. According to a nationwide survey* of American women, many of those experiencing domestic violence said that it had a direct impact on their jobs. Many of these women reported that abuse caused them to:

  • arrive late to work (40%);
  • miss whole days of work (34%);
  • have difficulty advancing in their careers (23%);
  • have difficulty keeping a job (20%);

*Findings from The Body Shop/YWCA Written Survey. Source: The Body Shop: Blow the Whistle on Violence Against Women: a National Study Examining Women's Experience of Violence in America. SAVVY Management Public Relations, 1998, New York City.

This section of the guide will help the manager to understand that:

There are ways you, as a manager, can be supportive.

Besides knowing about the tools and assistance available in the Federal workplace, there are a number of ways that you can provide support and help to empower the employee. In this section of the guide, you can learn how to recognize the possible signs of domestic violence, how to broach the topic if violence is suspected, and where to refer the employee for the right kind of help.

The Federal workplace offers powerful tools to help employees in crisis.

The Federal workplace offers powerful tools for protecting the safety of an employee who is being abused and for supporting her as she goes about rebuilding her life. You can play an important role by making sure that employees know about, and have easy access to these tools.

There are places to turn in the workplace for support.

Security, unions, the Employee Assistance Program, human resources, and workplace violence teams can provide assistance to a victim of domestic violence who wants to increase her safety. While the employee must ultimately decide whom in the workplace she wants to turn to and what kinds of protections she needs, you can explain to her the kinds of assistance that each resource offers.

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Know What to Say to the Employee who may be Experiencing Abuse

First, be aware of possible signs of domestic violence:

  • Changes in behavior and work performance
  • Preoccupation/lack of concentration
  • Increased or unexplained absences
  • Harassing phone calls to the workplace
  • Bruises or injuries that are unexplained or come with explanations that just don't add up

According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, a highly respected national nonprofit organization, knowing what to say to an employee and how to say it in a way that is respectful of her privacy is considered one of the most challenging aspects of domestic violence as a workplace issue. Don't be afraid to approach the employee in a non-threatening way by focusing on the employee's behavior at work. It is always appropriate for a supervisor to show concern for an employee who seems seriously distressed, and to support the employee in getting professional help. You should not try, however, to diagnose the employee's problem; don't presume that the employee is being abused. And make it clear that it is her choice whether or not to confide in you.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund suggests the following steps for approaching the topic with an employee you suspect is being abused:

  • Let the employee know what you have observed -- "I noticed the bruises you had last week and you look upset and worried today."
  • Express concern that the employee might be abused -- "I thought it was possible that you are being hurt by someone and I am concerned about you."
  • Make a statement of support -- "No one deserves to be hit by someone else."
  • If the employee chooses not to disclose, no further questions or speculations should be made. A referral for assistance should be given at the end of the conversation.

If the employee discloses that she is experiencing a problem with domestic violence, resist any temptation to direct the employee's safety; she is the best judge about what will keep her safe and there are risks on the path to safety. Make a referral to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and explain that this is a confidential resource for assistance. The EAP is able to intervene in ways you cannot or should not. Their early intervention can have a significant impact on getting the right kind of assistance in place. Let the employee know that you will keep what she has disclosed confidential, but in the case of a clear threat to the workplace, you, and anyone else who knows, are obliged to seek help.

If the employee has confided in you, but is still resistant to letting anyone else at work know, including the EAP, you must respect her need for confidentiality, and refer her to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).

Most important, do not ignore the situation. If workplace intervention is appropriate, either at the employee's request or to respond to a threat to the workplace, early intervention can provide advantages. In many cases, early intervention can prevent an incident of violence that could devastate the entire workplace. Work may be the only resource an employee has left, particularly if the abuser has succeeded in cutting off other sources of support. If you are an immediate supervisor, your role can be especially important because you are in a position to initiate supportive actions on the part of the organization, if this is what she wants.

The spirit and tone of your words and actions can make a big difference to the employee. Even if you feel confident about how you would handle a situation, consider consulting with the Employee Assistance Program for guidance about your role and about how you can communicate your support.

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Consider Workplace Flexibilities

The Federal workplace offers powerful tools for protecting the safety of an employee who is being abused and for supporting her as she goes about rebuilding her life. Employees threatened by domestic violence may need time off to go to court, find a new place to live, or recover from injuries. They may need a different workspace or different schedule to keep the abusers from tracking them down on the job. They may need their phone calls screened, a workstation that is not conspicuous to visitors, or additional security at their worksites. Some employees may appreciate a temporary adjustment to their work responsibilities.

Unlike some programs in the private sector, these tools are not labeled as "domestic violence" measures, but are simply the flexibilities and entitlements available to every Federal employee under appropriate circumstances. You can make sure that all employees know the flexibilities and benefits available to them and assist any threatened employee to obtain the kind of help she thinks she needs.

Each of these arrangements, with good planning, usually involves little disruption to the office and can be adjusted according to the circumstances. Supervisors should first contact the human resources office when considering the use of personnel flexibilities to assure that all labor relations obligations are met.

First Consider Paid Leave Options

Annual Leave

A manager provides an invaluable form of assistance by granting annual leave while an employee initiates a transition to safety.

When a Federal employee is faced with incapacitation to perform her job duties for medical reasons, or if she or a family member is facing medical treatment or incapacitation, there are several Federal leave programs in place.

Sick Leave

Federal employees have the right to use their accrued sick leave when they are incapacitated for the performance of their duties due to illness, injury, or to get medical care.

Sick Leave for Family Medical Care

Federal employees may use up to 40 hours of sick leave to give care to a family member with an illness or injury. The regulations cite some of the specific conditions under which sick leave can be used for family care -- for physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, childbirth, medical, dental or optical exam or treatment, or to make arrangements for or to attend the funeral of a family member.

Specifically, full-time employees can use up to 40 hours of sick leave each year for family medical care without regard to their sick leave balance. For employees who maintain an 80-hour balance in their sick leave accounts at all times, an additional 64 hours can be used each year for family care.

Leave Transfer

With leave transfer, Federal employees voluntarily donate annual leave to other Federal employees who have personal or family medical emergencies and who have exhausted their own leave. Any Federal employee can apply to become a leave transfer recipient, but may accrue no more than 40 hours of annual and sick leave while in a shared leave status. For a personal medical emergency, employees must use their annual and sick leave before applying for leave transfer. For a family medical emergency, employees must use their annual leave and the sick leave flexibilities for family care before applying for leave transfer. If your agency operates a leave bank program, there may be other options available. Check with your human resources office.

Advanced Sick or Annual Leave

If an employee's sick or annual leave balance is depleted, you may have the discretion to grant advanced sick or annual leave. Check with your human resources office about the limitations and entitlements to leave.

Leave options discussed up to this point allow the employee to receive paid leave, but there are several other options for employees which involve unpaid leave.

Unpaid Leave Options are Available

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) gives employees nationwide the option to use up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period (beginning when the employee first uses the FMLA entitlement) for specified family and medical needs.

A person in an abusive relationship may suffer many forms of physical and emotional abuse that can result in serious conditions requiring medical attention. Also, domestic violence occurs between intimate partners, but the couple's children or parents in the household may suffer, as well. An employee may request family medical leave to care for a child or parent who is suffering from serious injury or illness.

Check with your human resources office for specific information regarding FMLA coverage and entitlements.

Leave Without Pay

Another leave option is Leave Without Pay (LWOP). Since LWOP is considered an approved absence, employees must request it. The granting of LWOP is at the discretion of the agency in most cases.

Alternative Worksite Arrangements Can Offer Safety and Support

Telecommuting/Temporary Assignment

In certain cases, telecommuting can be a key part of a safety plan. Telecommuting allows an employee to work at home or at a "satellite" or telecenter (an alternate office setting for employees who otherwise would travel a longer distance between home and work) for all or part of the work week.

Telecommuting, if appropriate for the circumstances, may be easy to arrange with your human resources office, at least for a short period, to protect the employee's safety and to protect the safety of the workplace.

Check with the human resources office about the availability of telecenters in your area. Telecenters are being established across the country at a growing rate and are currently available to Federal employees in Atlanta, Georgia; King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Seattle, Washington, as well as numerous cities in California and the Washington DC metropolitan area.

In situations where telecommuting cannot be arranged, consider a temporary assignment to place the employee in a different location for the necessary time to achieve safety.

Work Schedule Flexibilities Can Be Arranged

Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one, which can be the case with alternative work schedules. For the employee juggling different demands, life transitions, or who has safety concerns, a flexible work schedule, which adjusts when the work day begins and ends, may be a very suitable arrangement. A compressed work schedule allows employees to work longer days and complete an 80-hour pay period in less then ten days. Other options worth exploring, if the employee needs more time away from work, are part-time employment or job sharing. Job sharing is a form of part-time employment where two part-time employees share the duties of a single full-time position.

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Identify Resources Available at the Worksite

If there is a threat to the workplace, consult with agency security personnel right away. All Federal employees, particularly management, should know in advance whom to call in the case of an emergency. Ask your agency security or workplace violence team whom to call and post this number by your telephone. Keep in mind, however, that even in cases where a workplace threat exists, the manager, to the fullest extent possible, needs to maintain the confidentiality of the employee and inform only those with a "need to know."

In the absence of a clear threat to workplace safety, the employee must have the final word about the kinds of interventions she would like to have and who to inform of her situation since she is in a better position to know her risks. The employee who is facing domestic violence needs to direct her own decisions in matters concerning her safety since any time a person in an abusive relationship takes steps toward safety, there are risks involved. It is common for an abuser to escalate violence as the woman makes attempts to separate. A manager would be overstepping his or her role by dictating a safety plan to the employee or trying to conduct a threat assessment. Managers can, however, inform the employee about the full range of assistance available from different agency representatives.

Security

If employees want to increase their safety at work, a key intervention you can suggest is to contact agency security. However, do not alert security yourself unless the employee requests this kind of help or there is a clear threat to the workplace. Security professionals may have good suggestions about the appropriate security measures to take, which may include providing the guard posts with the abuser's name and photograph. In some cases, if the employee is being stalked, security may request the make, color, and tag number of the abuser's car so the guards can watch for it outside of the building. If an order of protection is in place, the security staff will need copies of the court order.

Workplace Violence Teams

Today, many agencies have formed workplace violence teams. If your agency has one, even if it is at the headquarters level, they could be consulted if the employee desires an elevated safety response at work. If there is an imminent or immediate threat to the workplace, the team should be contacted since they may be able to take actions that could prevent a potentially violent situation. Any situation that presents explicit threats to safety should not be allowed to escalate before it is addressed.

Employee Assistance Programs

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) professional can play several different roles in helping an employee who is experiencing a problem with domestic violence. Chiefly, the EAP serves as a comprehensive referral source for many kinds of help. Victims of domestic violence may need a range of services -- advocacy, child care, health care, social services, legal aid, emergency shelters, counseling services, hotlines, and support groups. With the written consent of the employee, the EAP practitioner can act as a liaison with outside agencies providing services to the employee, advocating on her behalf when requested, to assure she receives appropriate services. Since the EAP counselors may have specialized training in domestic violence, they may offer insight in developing a safety plan at work and can be a source of guidance for the manager who wants to be supportive.

Union

The union can be a principal player in addressing domestic violence issues at work. Unions have traditionally been earnest advocates for the health, safety, and well-being of workers. The union's interest is only underscored by the fact that women facing domestic violence are at higher risk of on-the-job violence. At a minimum, union representatives should know about the workplace protections available and can advocate for providing workplace accommodations for employees in crisis. In some cases, the union can be a source of expertise and knowledge. Today, more and more, union representatives have had training about domestic violence. The union may know about specialized resources for help both in or outside of the workplace. Unions are often actively involved in workplace education and awareness efforts and may post information about where to go for help on the union bulletin boards at work.

Coordinated Efforts Can Enhance Safety

In cases where there is a clear threat to workplace safety or the employee is asking for help, effective responses of support can be initiated in the agency. Management, employee assistance professionals, security staff, union representatives, human resources administrators, and members of the workplace violence team can play different roles independently, or they can coordinate efforts with one another to develop and execute a workplace safety plan.

If agency staff are involved in helping the victim to develop her own workplace safety plan, open-ended questions should be asked about what changes, if any, could be made in the workplace to make her feel safer. The Family Violence Prevention Fund emphasizes: "Survivors of domestic violence know their abusers better than anyone else. When it comes to their own safety, offer to assist them in developing a workplace safety plan, but allow them to decide what goes in the final plan." Asking the following questions can help to form an effective workplace safety plan:

  • Has the abuser threatened the employee at the workplace or threatened to come to the workplace? Have co-workers been threatened by the abuser? Has stalking been a problem?
  • Is the travel route between the employee's home and work safe? Is the employee's parking arrangement safe? Are current child care arrangements safe?
  • Do security staff and co-workers have the information they need to help protect the employee, such as a photograph of the abuser? How else can security assist the employee?
  • If the employee is temporarily residing in a shelter or some other confidential location, do designated workplace personnel have emergency contact information?
  • Is the employee's work schedule flexible enough for her to manage court appearances, legal matters, and child care without having to take a cut in pay or use unpaid leave?

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Know How to be Supportive

As a conscientious manager, you know to leave the counseling to professional counselors and security to security professionals. But there are things you can do to be supportive in managing an employee who is probably facing a lot of uncertainty and change in her life and probably feels quite fearful.

  • Protect confidentiality. Assure the employee that you will maintain confidentiality to the fullest extent possible. Practice prudence when considering, together with the employee, who in the agency has a "need to know." Explain that if there is a clear threat to workplace safety, you will need to inform security.
  • Be understanding and approachable. In most stressful situations, one source of anxiety for the victim is a sense of being out of control. Employees will feel better if they are comfortable approaching you with their questions.
  • Respect her decisions. Since she is the best judge of her abuser's actions and the potential risks involved with her decisions, respect her choices. Realize that every step toward achieving safety presents risks and may take time.
  • Convey that she is a valued part of the team. Having a chance to be productive can do wonders for the battered self-esteem and sense of isolation that often go along with being a victim. One way of doing this is by addressing an employee's performance if it has been declining.
  • Address performance/conduct problems. If an employee is experiencing any performance or conduct problems, document deficiencies and consult with your human resources specialist. Whether or not formal action is appropriate at this time, it is essential to counsel the employee about the deficiency and refer the employee to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). It may seem cruel to confront a person who is obviously suffering, but sometimes this is the only way to help.
  • Meet with the employee privately to identify clearly the performance or conduct problems. You could state that you understand that sometimes "personal issues" can interfere with good performance or conduct, but don't assume that there is violence. If there are clear signs of abuse, gently encourage her to discuss what may be upsetting her. Whether or not she discloses the abuse, offer a referral to the EAP. Finally, suggest ways that performance or conduct improvements can be achieved.
  • Consult with your human resources specialist. Keep human resources staff in mind as a resource to both the employee and you on issues involving performance or pay and absence arrangements.
  • Be flexible. Keep your standards high, but allow as much flexibility as possible in getting the work done. If you set clear standards, but give employees the freedom in working out ways to meet them, they will probably find a way to satisfy expectations. Consider providing additional job training if that will aid the employee's job security or job transition.
  • Educate yourself about domestic violence. Inaccurate attitudes and beliefs about domestic violence hinder your ability to help. Domestic violence is a complex issue, and for many people, is hard to understand. Education emphasizes important points about the obstacles a woman faces, and reminds us not to be judgmental or to think there are "quick fixes" to this problem.

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Section III

For the Concerned Friend or Co-Worker: How You can Help Someone You Think is being Abused

This section of the guide is written for friends or co-workers concerned about someone they suspect is being abused. As a concerned friend or co-worker, your willingness to help can be important to a victim in her safety planning efforts. Being willing and well-intentioned is good; being prepared to offer the kind of help people need in these situations is even better.

Don't refrain from helping just because the employee's manager seems to be working constructively with the situation. Friends or co-workers can help in ways the manager cannot. For professional reasons, the manager must be careful about intruding on an employee's privacy, while you, as a friend, may be able to approach difficult but necessary topics in an appropriate way. And there may be issues the employee would find easier to discuss with you than with a supervisor.

Domestic violence flourishes because of silence, because the problem stays hidden and, in some subtle but powerful way, acceptable. We must make this a public concern and demonstrate that we will not tolerate it any longer." Esta Soler Executive Director of the Family Violence Prevention Fund

Know the Possible Indicators of Domestic Violence

The effects of domestic violence on victims are far-reaching and can emerge in many different ways. Being aware of these effects will not only help you better understand a woman's experience, but will help you better identify women who may be battered.

Visible physical injury, including:

  • bruises, cuts, burns, human bite marks, and fractures especially of the eyes, nose, teeth, and jaw,
  • injuries during pregnancy, miscarriage, or premature births,
  • injuries that go untreated,
  • multiple injuries in different stages of healing, and
  • inappropriate clothing or accessory, possibly worn to cover signs of injury (e.g., long sleeves on a hot day or sunglasses may be worn to cover bruises)

Illnesses, such as

  • stress-related ailments such as headaches, backaches, stomach distress, problems sleeping, overeating/under eating, and low energy,
  • anxiety-related conditions, such as a racing heart or overwhelming feelings of panic, and
  • less commonly, depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts, and alcohol or other drug problems

"Personal problems," such as:

  • marital or "family" problems,
  • alcohol or other drug addiction, and
  • "mental health" problems

Problems at work, such as:

  • attendance problems or problems getting work finished,
  • on-the-job harassment by abuser, either in person or over the phone,
  • withdrawal from co-workers, and
  • increasing numbers of personal calls

Express Concern

It's important not to assume that someone is being abused, but if you have good reason to believe that someone is being abused, you could help by simply expressing concern and letting her know that you are available to help. One of the common myths about people in abusive relationships is that they don't want to talk about their victimization. While many people do attempt to hide the fact that they are in an abusive relationship, they often do so because they fear embarrassment, their partner finding out, being blamed, not being believed, or being pressured to do something they're not ready or able to do. Directly asking a woman in private, without judgment, without pressure, and even without expectation that she will trust you enough to disclose, relieves her of the burden of coming forward on her own, and can tell her a lot about your concern, caring, and willingness to help.

Keep it simple. If there are specific observations that are the source of your concern, you might say something like, "I noticed 'x, y and z.' I'm concerned about you and wonder if there is something I can do to help." Or, "It seems like you're stressed out and unhappy. If you want to talk about it now or some other time, I'll be happy to listen."

People are sometimes hesitant to approach a woman about their concern for her safety because they feel that it is "none of their business," or that their offer of help will be unwelcome. But the notion that "what happens behind closed doors" is off limits has contributed greatly to women's isolation from help and support. Your risk of being rebuffed is relatively minor in comparison to the risk of contributing to her isolation.

A woman in an abusive relationship may open up to a friend who, in private, expresses concern about her.

Co-workers Jackie and Paula became pregnant at about the same time, both with their first babies. Their friendship deepened as they spent their breaks together, comparing notes, sharing their hopes, and amassing a huge collection of baby equipment catalogues. When Paula returned from maternity leave, she found Jackie changed. Jackie got the work done, but she didn't want to talk, didn't bring in baby pictures, and showed only perfunctory interest in Paula's.

Deeply hurt and fearful that she had offended her friend, Paula turned to her rabbi for advice. He said, "It sounds to me like something is wrong in Jackie's life, and she probably needs your friendship more than ever. Maybe something's the matter with her baby; maybe they're in financial trouble. You won't know until you ask. And you need to remember that sometimes pregnancy and childbirth can trigger family violence."

He went on to help Paula develop a plan for talking with Jackie. Paula pulled her courage together, arranged a meeting with Jackie in an unused conference room, and got as far as, "You're my friend and I'm terribly worried about you...." before she burst into tears.

Jackie started crying too, and between sobs told Paula how her husband had begun abusing her after she returned from the hospital. After regaining their composure, they went together to the Employee Assistance Program, where Jackie could begin to get help in sorting out her options.

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Respond in a Supportive Manner

There are many things you can do to prepare yourself to offer supportive and empowering assistance to a person in an abusive relationship.

  • Educate yourself about domestic violence - read this guide, talk to a domestic violence advocate, read some of the materials listed in the back of this book.
  • Initiate a conversation in private and when you have enough time to talk with her at length, if she chooses to.
  • Let go of any expectations you have that there is a "quick fix" to domestic violence or to the obstacles a woman faces. Understand that a woman's "inaction" may very well be her best safety strategy at any given time.
  • Challenge and change any inaccurate attitudes and beliefs that you may have about people in abusive relationships.

People in abusive relationships aren't battered because there's something wrong with them. Rather, they are people who've become trapped in relationships by their partners' use of violence and coercion. The better able you are to recognize and build on the resilience, courage, resourcefulness and decision-making abilities of a person in this situation, the better able you will be to help them.

  • Believe her and let her know that you do. If you know her partner, remember that abusers most often behave differently in public than they do in private.
  • Listen to what she tells you. If you actively listen, ask clarifying questions, and avoid making judgments and giving advice, you will most likely learn directly from her what it is she needs.
  • Build on her strengths. Based on the information she gives you and your own observations, actively identify the ways in which she has developed coping strategies, solved problems, and exhibited courage and determination, even if her efforts have not been completely successful. Help her to build on these strengths.
  • Validate her feelings. It is common for women to have conflicting feelings of love and fear, guilt and anger, hope and sadness. Let her know that her feelings are normal and reasonable.
  • Avoid victim-blaming. Tell her that the abuse is not her fault. Reinforce that the abuse is her partner's problem and his responsibility, but refrain from "bad-mouthing" him.
  • Take her fears seriously. If you are concerned about her safety, express your concern without judgment by simply saying, "Your situation sounds dangerous and I'm concerned about your safety."
  • Offer help. As appropriate, offer specific forms of help and information. If she asks you to do something you're willing and able to do, do it. If you can't or don't want to, say so and help her identify other ways to have that need met. Then look for other ways that you can help.
  • Support her decisions. Remember that there are risks attached to every decision a person in an abusive relationship makes. If you truly want to be helpful, be patient and respectful of the woman's decisions, even if you don't agree with her.
Quicklist
DO DON'T
Ask Wait for her to come to you
Express concern Judge or blame
Listen and validate Pressure her
Offer help Give advice
Support her decisions Place conditions on your support

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Section IV

Promoting Workplace Education and Awareness

Once management acknowledges domestic violence as a workplace issue and sends the simple message that they are concerned about it and want to help, employees facing these issues may feel more comfortable about seeking support and safety at work. One survivor revealed that had she seen just a poster in the lunch room, knowing that someone cared enough to hang a poster like that, she would have felt better about reaching out and asking for help.

On a regular basis, the workplace can make efforts to educate or make employees aware of domestic violence. These efforts may be initiated independently by senior management, the Employee Assistance Program, or the union -- or may be done cooperatively with several departments within an agency. Senior management augments any efforts of this kind with statements about their willingness to support employees who are victims of domestic violence.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund offers several ideas for domestic violence awareness activities at work:

  • Train supervisors and human resources staff on how to recognize and respond to people in abusive relationships. Approach your local community domestic violence program about assisting with this.
  • Include information about domestic violence and services available on pay stubs. Your local domestic violence program may have brochures that you can photocopy and include with pay stubs.
  • Conduct one or more workshops on domestic violence. Make presentations accessible to employees on all shifts. Consider inviting a speaker from your local domestic violence program to share information about local services and statistics about domestic violence in your area.
  • Display posters about domestic violence around your workplace, including restrooms, common areas, and your personnel office. Have materials such as brochures, safety cards and/or business cards available in places where employees can take them anonymously.
  • Include an article about domestic violence in your agency newsletter or bulletin.
  • Organize a wellness fair with information about domestic violence and other issues of importance to employees. Include posters, videos, brochures, and other free items such as pencils and bumper stickers which include the number of your local domestic violence shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).
  • Purchase a video about domestic violence that can be shown at employee fairs and workshops, or that employees can watch individually.

Successful activities will:

  • involve collaboration with your local domestic violence program;
  • make employees aware of what domestic violence is and its prevalence;
  • send a clear message that victims are not to blame, that their safety is important, and that there are individuals they can talk to if they choose;
  • provide information about community services and options available to survivors of domestic violence and their children;
  • offer suggestions for what all of us can do to prevent domestic violence and make our communities safer;
  • educate employees about how to recognize abuse and what they can do if they know someone in an abusive relationship.

The next sections are summaries - one for employees and one for managers - to help them recognize what domestic violence is and to identify sources for getting help at the workplace or in the community. They may be photocopied and distributed at the worksite. In fact, distributing these summaries to all employees can be a simple, yet effective, first step in reaching out to help employees who may be victims of domestic violence at your agency.

Employees

Does your partner ...

  • Behave in an overprotective way or become extremely jealous?
  • Isolate you from friends and family?
  • Call you names, put you down, and degrade you?
  • Physically hurt or threaten you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Domestic violence is very common and affects people from all walks of life. If you are in an abusive relationship, there are many resources in your workplace and in your community to help you.

In your workplace you can:

  • Talk to someone at the workplace you trust, such as a friend, co-worker, supervisor, human resources manager, or employee assistance counselor.
  • Notify security of your safety concerns. Provide a photo of the abuser and a copy of protection orders to security, supervisors, and reception area staff. Ask about relocating your worksite to a more secure area or increasing security at your current worksite.
  • Have your calls screened, transfer harassing calls to security, or remove your name and number from automated phone directories.
  • Review the safety of your parking arrangements. Ask security to escort you to your car, obtain a parking space near the building entrance.
  • Ask co-workers to call the police if your partner threatens or harasses you at work.
  • Ask about leave options if you need time off to seek legal, medical, counseling, or other assistance.
  • Consult with your union representative for support, advice, information, and referral.

In your community:

  • Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
  • Call 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) for help and referrals to a local domestic violence program.
  • Develop a personal safety plan with your Employee Assistance Program counselor and/or your local domestic violence program.
Remember you are not alone.
You are not to blame.
You do not deserve to be abused.

Managers

Would you know what to do if an employee was being abused at home?

Domestic violence is a workplace concern. It can result in reduced productivity, increased medical expenses, absenteeism, and increased risk of violence at the workplace. The workplace can be an ideal place for employees facing domestic violence to get help: it's the place many spend at least eight hours a day, away from their abusers. You can make a difference, too.

First, be aware of possible signs of domestic violence:

  • Changes in behavior and work performance
  • Lack of concentration
  • Increased or unexplained absences
  • Signs that phone calls are disturbing
  • Bruises or injuries that are unexplained or come with explanations that just don't add up

Second, send a clear and consistent message to all employees that the workplace will respond to all employees who are victims of domestic violence in nonjudgmental and supportive ways. Inform all employees of the assistance available to them through their workplace.

If you believe that one of your employees may be abused:

  • Don't assume that she is being abused.
  • Let the employee know what you have observed in a nonjudgmental way -- "I noticed the bruises you had last week and you look upset and worried today."
  • Express concern that the employee might be abused -- "I thought it was possible that you are being hurt by someone and I am concerned about you."
  • Make a statement of support -- "No one deserves to be hit by someone else."
  • If the employee chooses not to disclose, no further questions or speculations should be made. A referral for assistance should be given at the end of the conversation.
  • If you are unsure how to approach the employee, consult with Employee Assistance Program counselors or the human resources office.

Post and distribute information about domestic violence and inform all employees that the following assistance may be available to them through the workplace:

  • Paid and/or unpaid leave options if the employee needs time off to attend court or counseling, or to find a new place to live
  • Flexible work schedules, telecommuting, job details to a different location, part-time employment, and job sharing
  • Confidential and free counseling from the Employee Assistance Program and referrals to community resources
  • Security assistance such as escorts to and from parking, relocation of workspace to a more secure location, and workplace safety planning

For more information about workplace and community resources, check out the Futures Without Violence's website and the Legal Momentum's website.

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Federal Websites

Department of Justice

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Homeland Security

Office of Personnel Management

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Other Websites

The following list is not exhaustive of the organizations available, nor does the list constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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Acknowledgments

The guidebook would not be complete without recognizing the organizations who contributed to its production.

We'd like to first thank the New York Federal Executive Board. They furnished us with a good model of information to start with by giving us the guidebook on domestic violence they produced in 1996 for Federal employees throughout New York State.

From the project's inception, we were in consultation with the staff at the Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Office, who generously shared their experience and professional resources.

The Department of Health and Human Services provided professional consultation, along with copies of their own comprehensive employee guide on domestic violence.

Two organizations offered their unwavering support throughout the production process. The Family Violence Prevention Fund and the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund each contributed many hours of professional time to the task of editing and refining earlier versions. Their knowledge and expertise were invaluable in broadening the scope of crucial information now included in the guide.

The dedication of all these highly committed experts was a constant source of inspiration for OPM staff who worked on the guidebook.

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References

Family Violence Prevention Fund, The Workplace Responds to Domestic Violence: Resource Guide for Employers, Unions, and Advocates, 1998.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, Violence by Intimates, Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends or Girlfriends, April 1998

The NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Impact of Violence in the Lives of Working Women: Creating Solutions, Creating Change, 1996.

Department of Health and Human Services, The Action Guide: Understanding and Responding to Domestic Violence in the Workplace, a product of the agency's Domestic Violence Policy Review Group, October 1998.

Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support, a publication of the New York Federal Executive Board, July 1996.

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Note: Under Federal Law, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is prohibited from ranking, endorsing, or promoting agencies or organizations listed on its Website.

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