Violence education program recognized

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— A workplace violence education program started last fall by Advocates Against Battering and Abuse recently received recognition from the Colorado Bar Association as a statewide model for similar programs.

Advocates was one of several agencies in the state to develop a workplace violence education program with help from a $5,300 grant from the Colorado Bar Association.

The purpose of the program is to increase awareness in the community, especially among businesses, that domestic violence spills into the workplace, Advocates Executive Director Diane Moore said.

Advocates used the grant money to place educational ads in the newspaper, to put public service announcements on the radio and television, and to offer training sessions to businesses. The lecture-style training sessions usually last a couple of hours, Moore said.

Five businesses have participated: Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., TIC, Colorado Group Realty, the Northwest Colorado Bar Association and Routt County managers.

"I think it has begun to make some change," Moore said. "I think this is an important extension of what we already do in assisting victims of domestic violence.

"Most people work and they need to know how to let an employer know they have a restraining order (against a spouse or lover) or that there is danger to the workplace. And employers need to know how to respond."

According to a fact sheet released by Advocates, abusive husbands and lovers harass 74 percent of employed battered women at work, either in person or on the phone. Domestic violence has other obvious consequences on the workplace. According to the fact sheet:

n 56 percent of domestic-violence victims are late for work at least five times a month,

n 28 percent of victims leave early at least five times a month,

n 54 percent of victims miss at least three full days of work a month, and

n 20 percent of victims lose their jobs.

Employers and co-workers should look for bruises or injuries that are often attributed to "being clumsy," the news release said. They also should watch for clothing that is inappropriate for the season, such as long sleeves, scarves, sunglasses or unusually heavy makeup.

Any business interested in setting up workplace violence training may call 879-2034.

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