What is Domestic Violence?. Domestic violence is the use of physical, sexual, and/or psychological coercion to establish and maintain control over a family or a household member.
What is Domestic Violence?
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Domestic violence is the use of physical, sexual, and/or psychological coercion to establish and maintain control over a family or a household member.
Domestic violence affects the workplace when an abuser harasses an employee who is on the job, when a victim is absent because of injuries or less productive due to stress, or when violence occurs at the workplace.
Possible Indicators of Domestic Violence
Bruises, cuts, burns, and fractures – especially injuries of the eyes, nose, teeth, and jaw.
Bruises that are unexplained or come with explanations that do not add up.
Injuries that go untreated or are in different stages of healing.
Anxiety-related conditions (feelings of panic).
Depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or alcohol/drug problems.
Stress-related physical ailments (i.e. headaches, problems with sleeping, or low energy).
Inappropriate clothing or accessory, possibly worn to cover up signs of injury.
Attendance problems, difficulty concentrating, or problems meeting deadlines.
Repeated upsetting telephone calls at work.
Withdrawal from co-workers.
Abusers’ Impact on the Workplace
Making physical or sexual assaults or threats against the victim, children, or co-workers (i.e. threaten to take the children away or destroy property; threats of suicide).
Making the victim account for every minute of the day (i.e. the abuser drops off and picks up the victim from work).
Making the victim late for work or sabotaging job performance (i.e. by keeping the victim up all night or destroying work clothes).
Controlling the victim’s use of personal, sick or vacation time.
Abusers’ Impact on the Workplace, Continued…
Sabotaging the victim’s efforts to attend medical or counseling appointments by not providing childcare or transportation.
Isolating the victim from co-workers, friends, and family so there is no support system other than the abuser.
The abuser stalks the victim or makes frequent telephone calls or emails to monitor whereabouts.
Common Barriers to Asking about Domestic Violence
Denial: Assuming that the question does not need to be asked because domestic violence does not happen that often…
Pessimism: Assuming that it won’t help to ask…
Personal Feelings: Feeling uncomfortable because the subject brings up your own personal issues…
Common Barriers, Continued...
Lack of Knowledge: Feeling uncomfortable because you are not familiar with the dynamics of domestic violence or the available resources…
Powerlessness and Isolation: Not knowing how to help once someone discloses that they are experiencing problems or feeling like you are the only one who knows or cares…
Why Managers Should Take Action
Domestic Violence affects many employees.
It is a security and liability concern as well as a health care concern.
Domestic Violence is a management issue as it affects both the private and working lives of employees.
Domestic Violence is a performance and productivity concern.
Taking action in response to domestic violence works and managers can make a difference.
Appropriate Response to Workplace Violence
Be aware of the indicators of domestic violence.
If an employee or co-workers approach you about domestic violence, talk to the employee in a confidential setting.
Express concern and listen without judging; offer help and information.
Support the victim’s decisions and maintain confidentiality.
Express concern for the victim’s safety; encourage the employee to talk to domestic violence counselors who can listen and problem-solve.
Appropriate Response Continued…
Post information about domestic violence in your work area and have information available where employees can retrieve it confidentially.
As a supervisor, adjust the employee’s work schedule as considered necessary or reasonable or consider transfer of the employee to another work area for her safety.
Refer the employee to the UNC Hospitals Beacon Child & Family Program, Employee Relations, or to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for further counseling and resources.
When to Report to Hospital Police
It is hospital policy that if there is a potential of violence, if the victim has a valid Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), or ex parte order, it is mandatory for the supervisor to report to Hospital Police. They will keep the order on file.
Hospital Police can assist the victim in safety planning.
UNCHCS Employee Relations and Employee Assistance Program
Employee Relations is available to assist employees who are experiencing domestic violence. Their phone number is 966-2262.
The Employee Assistance Program is available to any employee who is experiencing problems which affect their work performance or well-being. Their contact number is 929-2362.
UNC Hospitals Beacon Program
Beacon Child & Family Program is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Information:
Phone number is 966-9314
Pager is 1-888-378-0551
The Beacon Program Social Workers provide counseling and education to employees who are victims of domestic violence.
They will assist the victim with developing alternatives and referring to other agencies that can provide ongoing support and legal advice.