Family violence, also referred to as domestic violence, can be defined as any abusive, violent, coercive, or forceful act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household onto another. Family violence results from this threatening behaviorand is used to gain or maintain power and control.
Domestic and family violence is a pertinent aspect of American life and it is essential that employers’ bring awareness to the subject by talking to an employee about family violence.
Indeed, family violence can be a touchy subject. Discussing family violence within a home and between relatives is often ignored. So if it’s that hard for a “family” to talk about the violence that is present, how is an employer supposed to talk to an employee about family violence?
In fact, there are several ways that employers can go about talking to an employee about family violence. Presented below are 5 tips that employers can use to bring awareness to and discuss family violence with employees.
How To Talk To An Employee About Family Violence: 4 Tips
1. Generate Awareness among employees via workplace images
Employers can havevarious awareness posters and/or dispense brochures about family violence throughout the office. By displaying the family violence awareness images, it makes it easier for an employee to understand the position their employee takes against family violence. Employers can find material related to generating violence prevention at the Family Violence Prevention Fund (www.fvpf.org).
2. After creating awareness, distribute contact information to employees
An employer can distribute talk help-lines or Employee Assistance Program contact information many ways to employees; whether it is via email, handouts or on kitchen bulletin board. Providing a means to contact the employer (via the assistance program) allows employees to reach out for help much more easily.
3. Have a set-aside work day to discuss family violence
Employees can host a day event where they offer information about family violence by means of multiple meetings and training sessions. Looking for a good time to have the event? October is an opportune month since it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
4. During employee training feature the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) award-winning video, titled, Domestic Violence: The Workplace Responds.
The OVC video is a great way for employers to replace directly talking to an employee about family violence without awkwardly bringing it up during meetings or informal training. OVC’s video presents an appropriate framework employers can take to help employees who are in abusive family situations.
5. Invite a speaker or panel of speakers who have experience talking and dealing with employees suffering from family violence.
Employers can reach out to the surrounding community for people to bring into the office to talk during company wide information sessions on family violence. Speakers can be brought in from a variety of groups like local shelters, batterer’s treatment programs, and police departments. It is essential to educate employees about family violence and a great way to do that is by having people with experience come in to talk to employees.
The employer can use the group speaker and or speakers to simultaneously distribute educational materials on family violence as well. For more information on how to speak to someone about their family violence, contact our family counseling service in MD.