Domestic violence: a workplace issue
Domestic violence is a pattern of power and control that may include physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and financial abuse. Domestic violence occurs throughout society and affects all economic, cultural and ethic groups.
Guidelines for co-workers:
–Recognizing Domestic Violence
The first step toward supporting a co-worker who is in a violent situation is to recognize the signs of domestic violence. If your co-worker has unexplained bruises and explanations that don’t make sense, is distracted, misses work often or receives harassing telephone calls, you should consider the possibility of domestic violence.
–Send a message to your co-worker
Express your concern. Most people in abusive relationships appreciate expressions of concern and support, even if they don’t respond. It is important to remember that it is not your job to “save” the person, only the victim can do that.
Listen without judging.
Let the victim know that it is not their fault and the abuse is responsible. Explain that physical violence and any other kind of violence is not acceptable in any relationship. There is not excuse for it — not alcohol, drugs, financial pressure, depression, jealousy or any behavior of the victim.
You are not alone. Many people experience violence, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or socioeconomic status and they, too , find it extremely difficult to deal with the violence.
–There is help available.
Give the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center’s phone number and material. Make sure to tell the victim to keep that information in a safe place where the abuse cannot find it.
Explain that domestic violence is a crime. Your friend can seek help and protection from the police, courts and a domestic violence program, where shelter can be offered.
–Should you tell your supervisor?
You cannot force a person to do something. Instead, suggest that she or he tell you supervisor and maybe offer to accompany you co-worker for support.
When you realize that a person is in an abusive relationship it can be difficult to know when to say or do something. Victims of domestic violence are often reluctant to discuss their situation with anyone — even close friends and family. The most important thing to keep in mind is to offer support and caring words to the victim.
For more information on the effects of domestic violence you can call the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center office at (530) 544-2118 or the 24-hour crisis line at (530) 544-4444, or visit the Web site at http://www.sltwc.org or the Women’s Center facility at 2941 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
The building is financed with a low-cost loan through the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.
Karla Aguila is a bilingual advocate at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center.
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