When there is violence in one of your employees’ personal life, they might talk to you about it.

Don't worry: this means that you are seen as a neutral and unbiased supervisor that inspire confidence and that will not judge the situation.

It could also mean that this person hopes that you can help them to find solutions to get out of this situation in the healthiest possible way, so they can reconcile their rough personal life with work requirements. Your job is to provide necessary support by:

  • believing your employee’s word;
  • be compassionate regarding their issues;
  • be understanding;
  • offer them active listening;
  • take a non-judgmental approach towards the situation and the people involved in it.

In addition, by guiding your employee towards the in-house resources of the business (like an employee assistance program) or towards the resources available in your community, you will fulfill their need of solutions.

Specific actions to reconcile experiences of domestic violence with professional life can be suggested following the victim’s specific needs or can be developed through a domestic violence support policy. 

Taking a stand against domestic violence

The first step for healthy human resources management in situations of domestic violence is to understand how this reality can influence your employee's health, safety and productivity, as a victim or as an aggressor. Your position towards the management of domestic violence will determine your business' efficiency to promote your employee’s health and safety.

A clear and firm commitment to creating working conditions that can be adapted to your employee's personal life will have positive effects. It will encourage victims to share what they are going through and leave their violent relationship to regain health and security and recover their motivation, sociability and productivity at work. It will also make the abusers aware of their responsibilities.

In a mid and long term perspective, your decision to prevent domestic violence will also lower your team's tolerance to all types of violence. It will promote respect between colleagues and develop your employees’ loyalty improving their sense of belonging, their feeling of self-efficiency and their satisfaction towards their working conditions.

Intended measures for the staff

Once you have taken a stand against domestic violence and are openly committed to protecting your staff, concrete action must be implemented to ensure healthy human resources management in situations domestic violence.

There are several possibilities. Distribution of handouts produced by local organizations specialized in these matters is the first act of universal prevention. You can contact them directly to order the documentation which corresponds to your specific needs. Distribution can be made informally, while distributing payroll for example, or more formally during a team meeting.

Elaborating an awareness and information program, and training intended for all employees is a good start. It could include different sections with a specific one for human resources managers.

These employees could benefit from a special training to identify how domestic violence manifests itself both for the victims and aggressors. This specific type of training is offered in your area by shelters for victims of domestic violence. It includes reference material to help identify differences between an argument and domestic violence and suggests different ways of taking action in such situations. 

In addition to reference materials, an information meeting for the whole team could be organized to explain the characteristics of domestic violence and locate available resources on that matter in your area. According to the corporate initiatives you set up for your employees, your workplace will be seen as a pro-active one, where talking about these issues is made possible and accessing resources of the community facilitated.