Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Steamboat Springs Employers who turn a blind eye to violence in the home risk seeing it in the workplace.
That's why a statewide effort has begun to raise community leaders' and business owners' awareness of domestic violence among employees.
The Colorado Bar Association, in partnership with the state Attorney General's Office, is funding programs in local communities that help employers develop policies and procedures that identify and address domestic violence.
Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, a nonprofit organization that provides 24-hour crisis response to victims of domestic and sexual violence, received a grant to educate community leaders and business owners about the warning signs of violence in the home that appear in the workplace.
Violence that occurs behind closed doors rubs off in the workplace more than people realize, Advocates executive director Diane Moore said.
She estimated two out of every 10 people who have been abused outside of work and have sought assistance from Advocates deal with the effects of violence at work.
"It impacts their job," she said.
Battered men and women miss work because they must appear in court or they avoid work because they don't want their employers to know they've been abused.
When domestic violence spills into the workplace, it becomes a form of workplace violence Moore said.
Prevention makes good business sense because employers bear the financial brunt of poor work performance, sick days, legal expenses and health-care costs associated with victims of domestic violence.
Advocates is encouraging interested local businesses to implement workplace violence prevention programs.
"We want to help them learn how to understand and support their employees," she said. Moore said she would like to see programs evolve over the next eight months.
Advocates will work with staff and management to develop policies and procedures that prepare employers to identify behavioral red flags before they become violent acts.
Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak applauded efforts to bring local governments and the business community's attention to the need for implementing sound polices that create a safer workplace for everyone.
"Getting people to realize and understand that it's out there is the biggest hump we have to get over," Stahoviak said.