Partner Violence as a Workplace Issue. Some Stats, Facts & Policy Suggestions

We want to thank Kim Wells,  Executive Director of The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence for providing us with this informative blog entry.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence  is a national nonprofit organization founded by businesses with a mission to address domestic violence as a workplace issue.

Below are some very sobering statistics and facts on the troubling issue of partner violence and its impact on the individual and workforce.

What can you as an employer do and where should you start? At the bottom of this article you will find a link to the “six steps” that the Corporate Alliance suggest for creating a successful domestic violence in the workplace policy. (PDF Format)

So how does domestic violence impact the workplace?

Here’s some insight from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • In February of 2008, the CDC released the most comprehensive US survey regarding intimate partner violence – 23.6% of women and 11.5% of men reported at least one lifetime episode of intimate-partner violence.
  • According to the CDC, intimate partner violence victims lose a total of nearly 8.0 million days of paid work a year””the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs””and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of the violence.
  • The cost of domestic violence to the US economy is more than $8.3 billion. This cost includes medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work).

And some additional insights into productivity losses:

  • Researchers from the University of Arkansas found that women who were victims of recent domestic violence had 26 percent more time lost to tardiness and absenteeism than non-victims.

If you think that this does not happen to people who work, think again.  The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence did a national survey of full-time employed adults, and found the following:

  • 21% of the full-time employed adults polled identified themselves as victims of domestic violence; 64% percent of them indicated their ability to work was significantly impacted
  • 31% of co-workers felt obliged to cover for a co-worker who as a victim; 38% of co-workers were concerned for their own safety

What about abusers? The Maine Department of Labor found that:

  • 78% of surveyed perpetrators used workplace resources to express remorse or anger, check up on, pressure, or threaten their victim
  • 74% had easy access to their intimate partner’s workplace
  • 21% of offenders reported they contacted the victim  at the workplace

And why is it that victims don’t just leave?

  • In cases of homicide related to domestic violence; 75% of the time it is when the victim is leaving or has left the abuser. This means leaving is potentially VERY dangerous for a victim””a victim who may be your employee.

What about workplace safety?

  • Domestic violence coming to the workplace accounts for 24% of workplace violence incidents (BLS, October 2006)

So why should employers care about this? If you haven’t already gotten the sense (and there is more information available in the Facts and Stats section of our website):

  • It is an absenteeism issue
  • It is a productivity issue
  • It is a turnover issue
  • It is a presenteeism issue (this means you are present, but not really focused and able to work)
  • It is a workplace safety issue

And who in your workplace is potentially impacted by domestic violence coming to work?

  • Victim
  • Abusive person
  • Co-worker
  • Manager
  • Family member

So what can an employer do?

There are the “six steps” that we suggest at the Corporate Alliance for creating a successful domestic violence in the workplace policy. Click here to take you to our site from which you many download the PDF.

Kim Wells may be reached at 1-309-664-0667 or email her at

Additional Resources:

Human Resource Essential

2 responses to “Partner Violence as a Workplace Issue. Some Stats, Facts & Policy Suggestions

  1. You’d think that the lost productivity along with the enormous monetary costs would be enough to convince more employers to invest in awareness and prevention.

    You’d think, but you’d be sadly wrong.

    Let’s keep fighting the good fight to change this neglectful mindset.

  2. I found the statistics compelling. Offering substantial supporting background that more than adequately provides evidence for developing proactive Domestic Violence education and awareness plans and programs. Of significance is how vulnerable our workplace are. This thorough analysis reflects the urgency of action in implementing safety programs.

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