South Carolina was ranked earlier this year by the Domestic Violence Advisory Committee as “the nation’s sixth-worst state” among the rates of women murdered by men. The Committee also found that the state’s “domestic-violence homicide rate” is more than 1.5 times the national average. Even with such troubling information, some employers have chosen to shy away from addressing domestic violence as an issue impacting the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, relatives or domestic partners were the most frequent assailant in work-related homicides of women (40 percent).
Given such statistics, South Carolina employers should review current policies and practices to determine whether domestic violence education and prevention resources are available to employees. If not, employers can begin to incorporate resources into the workplace by taking proactive steps, such as:
- Developing a domestic violence workplace prevention policy that is well publicized to employees;
- Training managers and supervisors to recognize signs that an employee may be the victim of domestic violence;
- Having security procedures specifically include information addressing incidents of domestic violence;
- Reviewing Employee Assistance Programs offered by the employer to ensure that such programs have counselors who are trained to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence; and
- Incorporating awareness of domestic violence into employee orientations and training programs so that potential victims and coworkers are aware of the warning signs of domestic violence and the employer’s commitment to addressing domestic violence in the workplace.
While no plan is an absolute guarantee that domestic violence will not impact a workplace, having resources available and proactively addressing the issue is a key step employers can take in a continued effort to provide a safe workplace not only for victims but also for their coworkers.