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Workplace Violence Prevention News

Domestic Violence in the Workplace

Friday, January 25, 2013

Domestic Violence in the Workplace

Workplace Violence and Intimate Partners

There are significant amounts of statistics available on the issue of domestic violence in the workplace.  What is important to remember is that your organizations workforce is a reflection of our society.   Statistics clearly indicate that domestic violence is a sustained problem.  The reality is that one of your coworkers is most likely currently being abused; that's a sobering thought.

  • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape (U.S. Department of Justice, Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women:Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey (1998).
  • Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America, on average (Bureau of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Homicide Trends from 1976-1999, (2001).
  • Women are at an increased risk of harm shortly after separation from an abusive partner (Bureau of Justice Statistics)

Organizations should take a proactive stance to increase awareness of domestic violence.   Doing so serves two primary purposes.  First, from a moral perspective, we have to be willing to help a person in need. Our workplaces are often our "home away from home."  Just like we want our neighborhoods and communities to be free from violence, we have to be willing to speak up when we see issues in our workplaces.  Often women suffer in silence due to embarrassment, fear, or lack of resources and support.   Second, from an organizational standpoint, domestic violence issues consume significant amounts of staff resources, initiative and productivity; put bluntly, not understanding and addressing domestic violence costs businesses money and puts ALL their employees at greater risk of a violent incident occurring at the workplace. 


  • Ninety-four percent of corporate security directors surveyed rank domestic violence as a high security problem at their company (Solomon, C.M. 1995)  
  • In the case of La Rose v. State Mutual Life Assurance Co., Francesia La Rose's family filed a wrongful-death action against her employer when she was murdered by a former boyfriend at the work site. The employer paid a settlement of $850,000 for failing to protect her after being notified of a specific threat.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence equals $727.8 million, with more than 7.9 million paid workdays lost each year.

Personal Challenge

I challenge each one of you to take a quick moment and learn a little bit more about domestic violence.  A quick internet search will provide you with a plethora of facts and statistics.  Learning a little more about domestic violence will put you in a better position to recognize and then address the issue...and you just may help somebody in need.   

About the Author 

Hector Alvarez is the founder of Alvarez Associates, a firm specializing in violence prevention, assessment, management and response.    Having been both a security director for a major national critical infrastructure and a city police officer, he has built over 25 years of experience in the field of violence prevention. He understands the challenges organizations and communities face addressing the threat of violence.  Hector has the privilege of working with organizations, both corporate and community based to build safer communities through keynote speeches, workshops, security assessments, trainings and behavioral threat assessments.

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