Workplace impacts of family violence
Family violence is a workplace issue. The impact of family violence does extend to your place of employment and not just in the home. More can be done at work to address this issue, protect our workplaces and keep our staff and each other safe.
“Employment is a key pathway out of domestic violence” (Kahui et al, 2014).
Employment is a key pathway out of domestic violence. The body of research about domestic violence over the past 30 years finds conclusively that staying in employment is critical to reducing the effects of violence.
Security of employment enables those affected by domestic violence to maintain domestic and economic stability, in this way assisting them to find a pathway out of violence and to successfully re-build their lives.
Growing evidence suggests that as well as the potential for breaking the cycle of domestic violence, the introduction of workplace protections for people affected by domestic violence both saves employers costs (recruitment, retention, re-training, health and safety) and increases productivity (Kahui et al, 2014).
Some workplace impacts of family violence
Family violence can affect the safety and productivity of a workplace. Some workplace impacts of family violence include decreased productivity, increased risk to the employer and other employees and absenteeism.
Employees who are victims of family violence may:
- Be distressed, depressed, anxious, distracted and fearful at work
- Need to take time off work to attend court, seek medical attention, counselling, or other support
- Leave their job because they are hiding from their abuser
- Have a protection order which could have implications for the workplace (e.g. the violent person cannot contact or go to the workplace)
- Have their ability to work sabotaged by the violent person (e.g. through damage to their car so that they are late for work or work taken home may be destroyed)
Employees who are perpetrators of family violence may:
- Pose a risk to the victim’s colleagues
- Pose a risk to staff and clients in their own workplace
- Use work time and resources to harass, stalk and monitor their victim (e.g. calling the victim many times a day to control what she is doing)
- Have a protection order against them, which means that they are not allowed access to weapons (guns, knives, etc) and have conditions like not contacting or being near certain people
- Need to take time off to attend court or stopping violence programmes, or be prosecuted for a crime that affects their employment
Employers can use this family violence in the workplace resource ‘Good for Staff, Good for Business: Family Violence, How Employers Can Help’ – It’s Not Okay. You can also visit www.areyouok.org.nz (external link) for more information.