Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google Reaches Out To DV Community Before Releasing "Street View"

You have probably heard that Google recently released a new mapping tool called Street View - a feature that combines street-level 360-degree photos with Google's now well known 2-D online maps. It is my understanding that the images were created by a special truck that has driven roads in five United States cities. If you have seen them, they are VERY detailed. While on the one hand it is amazing technology, it is a bit disconcerting. While only public places are to be part of Street View, privacy issues and stalking come to mind -- it would not take much for a person to find your workplace or place of business using this tool.

And what about a domestic violence shelter?

Well, before releasing the new photo-enabled product to the world, Google reached out to the National Network to End Domestic Violence to make sure that the business listings didn't include women's shelters and created a way for local domestic violence groups to get photos of shelters removed if they appear on Street View.

Shelter and victim advocates can request an image be taken down via the site. The image will initially be blacked out, and after two weeks, it will disappear and simply not be part of the site's navigation, according to Cindy Southworth who heads the NNEDV's technology efforts, known as the Safety Net Project.

While that is a great idea, I guess you could still "identify" a blacked out image because you would recognize it was something you were not supposed to see and identify it that way? I am not sure. At any rate, it was wise that those involved in this technology at Google saw the downside before it went live and addressed it -- for the potential safety of those involved in family violence who are using shelters or other facilities that need safe locations.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

CAEPV Members Named Among 2007 Best Companies for Multicultural Women

Corporate Alliance members Allstate, American Express, Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless were all named among the 2007 Best Companies for Multicultural Women by Working Mother. This year, Working Mother gave the most weight to the representation, recruitment and retention of women of color. The magazine analyzed the workforce profiles of companies, including the number of women of color, women in top positions and top earners; programs for women of color; and work/life programs such as childcare, elder care and time off following childbirth.

This is awesome and the companies we are fortunate to work with are often named to such "blue ribbon" lists. However -- I often wonder why lists for "best places to work" or "best places for working mothers" don't include programs and policies to address intimate partner violence in their analysis or benchmarking? After all, these are cutting edge standards that are certainly beneficial to employee health, safety and welfare.

I really look forward to the day that the "bar is raised" to include partner violence workplace programs in these lists -- and hope it happens soon!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Study Finds Workplace Homicide Trends Decline in US, but Domestic Violence at Work Declines Least

A new study finds that workplace homicides have actually declined in the US at a greater rate than homicides in the US in general.

The study, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that overall, there was a significant decline in the rates of occupational homicide of approximately 6% per year during the study time period (1993 – 2002); this decline was found to be statistically greater than the decline of all US homicides (5% per year).

However, the study found that while workplace homicides have declined, the declines have not occurred uniformly across demographic and occupational categories. Unfortunately, the researchers state, “Type IV workplace homicides—that is, those involving a personal relationship between the worker and the offender—have actually declined significantly less than overall workplace homicides and declined the least of the four types. Future research should explore the extent to which workplace homicides of intimates are a function of the victim being protected in other settings, but still being vulnerable on the job.”

To read the study, Trends in Workplace Homicides in the U.S., 1993–2002: A Decade of Decline, visit the Articles & Advice section of the CAEPV website by clicking here.

South Carolina Attorney General's Office Launches Statewide Domestic Violence Campaign with Wal-Mart

In October 2006, CAEPV Member South Carolina Office of the Attorney General partnered with Wal-Mart on a pilot public awareness campaign to fight domestic violence in South Carolina. Domestic violence awareness posters were displayed in the women's restrooms and dressing rooms of five Wal-Mart stores in the Pee Dee area with tear-off resource cards, written in both English and Spanish, listing the telephone numbers for domestic violence hotlines and local shelters. This effort allowed customers and associates to privately gather resource information.

The effort worked! In the three months following the start of the project, the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault saw a 60% increase in the number of calls they received to their victim hotline.

On May 8, 2007, the South Carolina Attorney General's Office and Wal-Mart announced they are taking the program statewide to fight domestic violence. With an additional $10,000 donation from Wal-Mart, the awareness program also includes billboards and the newly created website: You Break The Silence.

To learn more about the campaign and view the campaigns posters and billboards, go to