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Early Warning Signs of Domestic Abuse

Early Warning Signs of Domestic Abuse

Forty-six percent of all Type 3/4 violent incidents are caused by a lover, spouse, or significant other.  When these lovers, spouses, friends enter the workplace, statistically, they murder or harm the victim and 1.4 co-workers.

Managers should be made aware of these early warning signs and should be trained to intervene. The following are some of the early warning signs of domestic abuse:

  • Is the employee unusually absent? Over 50% of battered persons miss at least 3 days of work per month.
  • Is the employee unusually late? 60% of battered persons are late to work at least 5 days per month.
  • Is the employee wearing long sleeves or turtlenecks when the weather indicates different attire? Are they wearing scarves around their neck?
  • Does it appear that the employee is not living at home, or is living in their car?
  • Is the employee wearing very heavy makeup on their face?
  • Is the employee bruised and do they have excuses for the bruising? If bruises are shaped like hands or fingers, the excuses may be difficult.
  • Is the employee absent, then shows up with bruises that they explain away? I walked into a door, etc.
  • Has the employee mentioned that they have to go to court?
  • Has the employee been the victim of vandalism or threats at work or in the parking lot?
  • Is the employee receiving an unusual number of telephone calls or texts?
  • Does the employee jump when the telephone rings, or when the call is for them?
  • Is the employee refusing to take calls from one particular caller?
  • Is the caller asking where the employee is, or when the employee is expected to return? Are they asking when the employee will be leaving work, or when the employee will leave for lunch?
  • Does the employee eat lunch alone at their desk? Are they reluctant to socialize with co-workers outside of the workplace?  Some employees are terrified that their jealous lover will follow them and endanger co-workers.
  • Is the employee in the process of ending a relationship? During training sessions, encourage employees to inform HR of any restraining orders they may have submitted.
  • Tell staff that if they need time off to file a restraining order, that the company will give them that time.

It’s important for employers to approach these signs with sensitivity and confidentiality. Establishing a supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable discussing personal issues can encourage those experiencing domestic violence to seek help. Employers should also have policies in place to address domestic violence and provide resources for support, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or referrals to community organizations.