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Advocating in the Workplace

44% of US adults say they have experienced the effects of intimate partner abuse at work.

Intimate partner abuse affects every part of a survivor’s life, including at work. Abusers often sabotage a survivor’s work-life as a control tactic. 

As an employer, what can you do to support survivors?  

If an employee starts suddenly missing days of work, or coming in late, not being able to concentrate, or shows signs of physical abuse – how are you going to respond? Do you have workplace policies and procedures in place?  

If not, visit Workplaces Respond for a model workplace policy and other resources to get a plan in place.

Legal Obligations 

Revisions to KRS 209A effective July 2017 require health, school, faith, law, social, and other professionals to provide resources and referrals for suspected victims of domestic violence in Kentucky. 

If you have professional interaction with someone you believe to be a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or abuse, you must give the person educational materials related to the abuse. This information must include how the victim may access domestic violence programs and protective orders. 

Click here for resources and here to schedule a training at your workplace. 

As a coworker, what can you do to advocate for survivors? 

See if your workplace has a policy on intimate partner abuse. If they don’t, share this statistic – 44% of US adults say they have experienced the effects of intimate partner abuse at work.

It’s important to have a policy in place for survivors. Share this resource with your company. You can search for resources as a coworker, employer, and advocate. 

Safe Space 

As employers and coworkers, we need to be a safe place for survivors to reach for help. If you have a conversation with someone you suspect is being abused –  

  • Communicate your concerns for the employee’s safety. It’s important to ask what changes could be made to make them feel safer. 
  • Tell the employee that you believe them. Listening, listening, listening, is really important. 
  • Refer the employee to a local domestic violence support agency with trained staff. You can call our crisis hotline, too, to ask for help with supporting an employee. 800.544.2022 
  • Be clear that your role is to try to help and not to judge. Don’t belittle or criticize the reasons a survivor stays or returns to the abuser. 

Read more. Let's make some noise.

This is part of a series for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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