Friday, December 18, 2009

Domestic Violence and the Holidays: What Do You Say?

So -- it's the holidays and you will be around family and friends that you may not usually see. And what if you see something that you are concerned about? What if you think someone you care about may not be in a safe relationship?

Here is the big difficult question:"What do you say to someone if you are concerned that they may be in an abusive relationship?"

Here is one pretty good way that I've found to talk with someone -- granted this is my style and everyone has a different style, but it goes something like this: "You know I really care a lot about you. I've noticed you haven't been yourself lately, and that (and you would fill in here the other things you've noticed -- like that the person seems afraid of their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, has unexplained injuries, seems isolated, etc.). I would rather be wrong or have you mad at me for asking than ever have anything bad happen to you so I just have to check in with you and ask -- are you safe in your relationship?"

Because really, if you think about it, that is the point, isn't it? You WOULD rather be embarrassed or feel uncomfortable asking, or be wrong rather than have something bad happen to a friend of yours and not say something.

And -- so what if your friend tells you that he or she is fine?

Then say "Hey, that is great. But if you ever decide you aren't ok, I want you to know my door is always open." And you may also want to add, "And if you were ever concerned that I was not safe, I would hope you would ask me the same question, right?"

Because the point is, if we really have one another's backs, we should be able to ask each other these questions. And then if you can, you may want to check in again with your family member or friend again in a few weeks just to see how things are going.

People don't always tell you right away when they are in a relationship that is not safe or good for them. It takes time and it is not easy.

For help or assistance anytime, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or check out Or for teens, check out the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline -- on the web at or at 1-866-331-9474.

It never hurts to ask -- and it may help change or save the life of someone you care about.

(And survivors....any comments or additional suggestions you have are most welcome! You know best what is helpful!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Addressing Domestic Violence in the Workplace: An EAP/Employer Partnership" Webinar - Audio/Video Recording Now Available

Downloadable materials from the webinar are available as well.

A recent survey of CEOs found that most believe domestic violence to be a serious issue, yet 71% did not believe it is a problem in their company. The reality is that approximately 21% of full-time working adults report being a victim of domestic violence. (2005 National Survey, CAEPV)

This webinar examined: current research findings discussing the experience of abused women who sought help with EAPs, examples of EAP collaboration with Human Resources, Employee Relations and Corporate Security to address specific incidents of domestic violence, and a detailed case study of one employer's response to domestic violence.

Presenters were:

• Bob McCullough, Manager Critical Incidents/Workplace Supports, Magellan Health Services
• Keshia Pollack, Department of Public Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
• John Cantrell, Assistant Director, Corporate Security and Investigations, CIGNA Corporation
• Kerrie Loyde, Senior Manager, Global Employee Relations, Gap Inc.

The S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace project is presented by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Workplace Violence Costs U.S. Businesses $70 Billion Per Year - More Than 70% Have No Policy To Address Workplace Violence

Did you know more than 70 percent of U.S. businesses have no policy or formal program in place to address workplace violence? However, violence costs businesses $70 billion a year, with $64.4 billion attributed to lost workplace productivity.

In the latest HRmarketer Market Share podcast, Kim Wells, executive director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV), provides insight on the importance of providing a formal program to address the affects of violence in the workplace.

CAEPV is a leading force in the fight against domestic violence. It is the only national organization of its kind founded by business leaders and focused on the workplace. Since 1995, the Alliance has brought together dozens of progressive companies who exchange information, collaborate on projects and use their influence to instigate change.

Wells suggests formalizing a program to keep the workplace safe, whether the violence is related to domestic or workplace issues. Components of a program include, formalizing a policy, creating a response team, building awareness and educating staff on the realities and affects of workplace violence.

"It sounds really simple to say ‘don't think it can't happen here,'" said Wells. "However, stop thinking it ‘can't happen here' because as soon as you do then you will start making plans to address potential issues."

Wells shared her insight during an interview with's president, Kevin Grossman. The interview can be heard on HRmarketer's HR Market Share podcast by visiting HRmarketer's blog. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or to access it via Hipcast.

HRmarketer's HR Market Share podcast covers hot topics in the HR space; recent mergers, acquisitions and earnings; recent HR supplier news; what's working in marketing and PR and what's not; interviews with HR suppliers and other marketing, PR or business thought leaders.

About ( is a division of Fisher Vista LLC, a marketing software and services firm focusing exclusively on the human capital industry. Through its marketing and public relations services, the company has worked with nearly 700 human resource and employee benefit service providers, helping them generate publicity, website traffic, sales leads and improved SEO.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"It's Time to Talk Day" - December 3, 2009

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) is participating in Liz Claiborne Inc.’s sixth annual It’s Time to Talk Day -- a day dedicated to ensuring that Americans speak-up about a subject that most people simply prefer not to discuss — domestic violence. We are proud to have been involved in this event since the beginning!

It’s Time to Talk Day events will be held nationwide, including at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC with Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

CAEPV will be participating in a “Talk Radio Row” on domestic violence at Liz Claiborne headquarters in New York. Major partners for this year’s event include The Department of Justice, CBS Evening News, REDBOOK, Seventeen,, one, MTV, the Joyful Heart Foundation, Talkers Magazine and Talk Radio News Service. For more information visit

And don't forget to take a moment to talk in your life!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The "Get Inspired! Project" - Talking About Domestic Violence and the Workplace

I was honored to be interviewed by Toni Reece, for the "Get Inspired! Project" -- the interview is #63 of 365 interviews that will be done - one each day -- of people who talk about how they are inspired and how they hope to inspire others. My interview can be found at

Of course I talked about domestic violence and its impact on the workplace...and about what people can do to make a difference...and about the amazing people I get to work with each and every day who are so committed to making this issue "everybody's business."

The entire project is really cool -- check it out at -- and get inspired!

Monday, November 23, 2009

December 3rd Marks Liz Claiborne Inc. 6th Annual National "It's Time to Talk Day"

Thursday, December 3, 2009 marks Liz Claiborne Inc.’s sixth annual It’s Time to Talk Day, a day dedicated to ensuring that Americans speak-up about a subject that most people simply prefer not to discuss — domestic violence.

This year Liz Claiborne Inc. continues their very successful partnership with Talk Radio News Service by sponsoring their annual Domestic Violence Talk Radio Row at Liz Claiborne headquarters in New York City. Leading national and local talk radio hosts will once again conduct back-to-back interviews with guests on various domestic violence issues throughout the entire day.

CAEPV has been proud to be involved in It’s Time to Talk Day since its inception and looks forward to participating this year. It’s Time to Talk Day events will be held nationwide, including at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC with Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
I will be participating in a “Talk Radio Row” on domestic violence at Liz Claiborne headquarters in New York. Major partners for this year’s event include The Department of Justice, CBS Evening News, REDBOOK, Seventeen,, one, MTV, the Joyful Heart Foundation, Talkers Magazine and Talk Radio News Service.
For more information visit

(And don't forget to "take a moment to talk" in your life!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hope For Peace

If you think the media does not care about domestic violence and won't cover the issue unless it's a sensational story - I have something wonderful to share with you.

KNWA (Northwest Arkansas) has been doing a weekly series every Wednesday called "Hope For Peace."

The series started October 7 and the series continues through the end of November. You can view all the archived stories at

And these are not little one minute stories - these are long 4-5 minute segments devoted to the issue.

This week the issue was domestic violence and the impact on the workplace. Previous segments have included Arkansas Governor Beebe discussing his own family's heartbreak over domestic violence.

I give BIG kudos to the management at KNWA and to anchor Neile Jones for getting the stories and the information out. And for taking the time to really delve into the issue in this way.

We all "hope for peace" -- and KNWA is truly trying to do something about it. Again, that link is

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A True "Hero of the Heart"

Our CAEPV Member Joyful Heart Foundation has launched a wonderful new magazine, Reunion. It is something really special, and you can check it out here:

Inside the premiere issue they highlight a wonderful “Hero of the Heart” -- my dear friend Jane Randel.

Jane also happens to be the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Liz Claiborne Inc. I don't think I know anyone as dedicated to working to make this a world where "love is not abuse" than Jane.

She is truly a "Hero of the Heart" -- and she won't like that I wrote this blog and mentioned this article, because she is one of the most humble people that I know. Which is one of the reasons I love her so much!

To read that article and learn about Jane’s determination to make this a world free of violence, click here.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Good Morning America's Interview with Rihanna

Good Morning America aired an interview with Rihanna this morning and yesterday morning. The entirety of the interview will be show on 20/20 tonight. (To see a previous post on this subject, click here.)

Rihanna was 20 years-old, and Chris Brown, 19, when they were involved in a brutal case of relationship violence. The Chris Brown and Rihanna incident should not go by with out talking about the urgent need for education on teen dating violence and abuse.

Link to the Rihanna interview on Good Morning America:

For wonderful resources for teens and their parents, head to

Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Webinar "Addressing Domestic Violence in the Workplace: An EAP/Employer Partnership" (November 12, 2009)


Addressing Domestic Violence in the Workplace: An EAP/Employer Partnership is an educational opportunity provided through the ongoing work of the national S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace project.


Thursday, November 12, 2009
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. CT
11:00 - 12:30 p.m. PT


A recent survey of CEOs found that most believe domestic violence to be a serious issue, yet 71% did not believe it is a problem in their company. The reality is that approximately 21% of full-time working adults report being a victim of domestic violence.

This webinar will examine: current research findings discussing the experience of abused women who sought help with EAPs, examples of EAP collaboration with Human Resources, Employee Relations and Corporate Security to address specific incidents of domestic violence, and a detailed case study of one employer's response to domestic violence.


• Bob McCullough, Manager Critical Incidents/Workplace Supports, Magellan Health Services
• Keshia Pollack, Department of Public Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
• John Cantrell, Assistant Director, Corporate Security and Investigations, CIGNA Corporation
• Kerrie Loyde, Senior Manager, Global Employee Relations, Gap Inc.



The deadline for registration is Tuesday, November 10, 2009. However, registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis, so register early!

Click here to register for the webinar.

The S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace conference was presented by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. This conference was made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with additional support provided by The Allstate Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, CALCASA, Health Care Service Corporation, and Texas Health Resources.

The Technology Sponsor for the conference was the Verizon Foundation.

The conference planning workgroup includes representatives from the following organizations: Chestnut Global Partners; CIGNA; Gap Inc.; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Macy's West; Magellan Health Services; OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Start Strong is a partnership of CAEPV Member Blue Shield of California Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. How fitting during October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to start the largest-ever national initiative to reach out to 11-14 year olds to promote healthy relationships and prevent abusive ones. . before they start!

On October 22nd, we are on a national mission to define a healthy relationship. It’s urgent, and we need YOUR input. Too many people are finding themselves in violent, abusive and damaging relationships. By looking at what a healthy relationship is — how to have them, build them and keep them — we can end abuse.

Be a part of this RECORD BREAKING day. Start Strong’s goal is to get as many people as we can across the country (teens, adults, parents, grandparents, anyone and everyone!) to tell us what they think about healthy relationships.

Below are ways that you can participate on October 22nd. A few minutes of your time can make a lasting difference in someone’s life.

1- Help us spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends and family.
2- Go to and give us your relationship feedback. We need to know what you know.
3- IMPORTANT! Post a conversation starter to your Facebook ( or Twitter profile. This will have a major impact. For example:

(insert name) how do you start strong? Join the conversation

(insert name) is on a mission to define a healthy relationship. Join the conversation

(insert name) is wondering how do you define a healthy relationship. Tell us how to Start Strong before it ends wrong

Thank you for doing your part to make sure that violence and abuse are never tolerated.

The Start Strong Community

Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships is the largest initiative ever funded to target 11-to-14-year-olds and rally entire communities to promote healthy relationships as the way to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation are investing in communities across the country to discover the most promising pathways to stop dating violence and abuse before it starts.

Learn more about us at

Thursday, October 01, 2009

10 Things You Can Do About Domestic Violence

As we begin October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, people have been asking me "What can I do about domestic violence? Is there something I can do to help?" Here is a short list of ideas. Certainly you can add your ideas or additions at the end:

1) Sign the MADE petition to get dating violence curriculum in schools. Go to

2) Find out more about domestic violence. Go to and see the stories of survivors and what made the difference for them.

3) Go to and buy the Women's Empowerment Necklace or Bracelet.

4) Learn about how domestic violence impacts your workplace by visiting

5) Remember the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or You can call to help others or yourself.

6) Donate your old cell phone (any brand) at any Verizon Wireless store or use free mailing label

7) Learn to talk to your kids about healthy relationships by downloading tip booklets from

8) Try to understand what happens in DV and how it impacts people. Check out And comment!

9) Don't ask "Why would that victim go back?" ask "Why would a person hit or abuse someone they love?"

10) Be safe, healthy and happy in your own relationships. Because you matter. And you deserve it. And you are very, very precious.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

October 6 - A Time to Talk About Domestic Violence in Central Illinois

October 6th has been designated as “It’s Time to Talk Day” throughout Central Illinois. Thanks to our CAEPV members located in this area for their partnership with local agencies and organizations involved in this effort! It is amazing!

Wouldn’t it be great to have a single day where we turn to one another and actually talk about an issue that you may not realize is more common than breast cancer? An issue that by its nature makes people uncomfortable -- domestic violence.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, in partnership with 28 other local organizations and Liz Claiborne Inc., has designated October 6, 2009, as “It’s Time to Talk Day” in Central Illinois, hoping to raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault and get people talking about these pervasive social issues.

This year’s theme for “It’s Time to Talk Day” is Healthy Children, Healthy Families— highlighting the impact of domestic violence on children throughout the lifespan. Participating community organizations hope to educate the community about the impact of domestic violence on children – not just as victims but as witnesses – and how this affects them through their lives. In addition, solutions will be discussed to help the community understand what local resources are available for victims, survivors and their families.

Among the highlighted events happening throughout “It’s Time to Talk Day” is a free conference featuring experts discussing the impact of domestic violence through the different stages of the lifespan. The conference, “It’s Not Child’s Play: Trauma Lasts A Lifetime” will be held at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Memorial Center on October 6.

Honorable Paul Lawrence, Associate Judge and Chair of the 11th Judicial Circuit Family Violence Coordinating Council said, “This conference, along with all of the day’s events, are important to help educate the community in understanding the life-long impact of domestic violence on our community. If we can stop it early, we can make a difference.”

McLean County State’s Attorney Bill Yoder said “The devastating and long lasting impact of domestic violence on the smallest members of our community cannot be overstated or ignored. The more we do to help now, the more we take a step toward healthier children, healthier families and a healthier violence free community.”

Verizon will conduct a HopeLine drive for no longer used cell phones during “It’s Time to Talk Day.” HopeLine is Verizon Wireless’ signature program which turns no longer used wireless phones into support for victims of domestic violence. The collected phones are either refurbished or sold, with the proceeds used to purchase newer wireless phones for domestic violence victims and to support domestic violence shelters and organizations.

“The phones donated to HopeLine do more than just provide emergency communications,” said Kim Wells, Executive Director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. “The phones give victims the courage to venture beyond the safety of their homes, to go to work, or to go shopping and take their children to school, knowing that, if they are threatened, help is just a phone call away.”

You can make a difference on October 6! Talk to someone in your life about the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships. If you are not sure how to get the conversation started please see Liz Claiborne’s educational handbooks, which are designed to give you practical and easy advice on ways to begin to talk about the issue. The handbooks are available at

For a complete list of events, visit:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Are YOU Doing For Domestic Violence Awareness Month? (Or. . .Where is All the Purple?)

I wrote this last year and was thinking about it again this year. I have some updated thoughts. . .but the idea remains the same.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I realize it is also a month to recognize a lot of other really important health and other issues -- most notably breast cancer. But while you see a lot of "pink" around, do you see a lot of "purple"? (Purple is the color that represents domestic violence awareness like pink represents breast cancer awareness.)

I have seen pink mixers, pink bras, pink baseball bats, pink shoes. . . you name it. But why not purple? I have some guesses. (We were really excited in my office when we saw Yahoo's purple campaign because we thought surely they would have SOMETHING about purple and domestic violence. . .but no. So -- we have asked them to consider this really important reason that purple is "cool." We will see what they do.)

A long time ago, no one talked about breast cancer -- they kept it a secret, and somehow it was a "shame" and was their fault. But that has changed, and we no longer blame breast cancer victims. We call them survivors. And we honor them. And we should.

Now -- with domestic violence, we are not exactly there. We are uncomfortable with it because we are not really sure what "causes" it, whose "fault" it is, what we should do about it, or how to even say something to someone. I don't know all the reasons. I just know this -- it is highly uncomfortable for us.

But put all that aside for a moment. I think we can all agree that the one place everyone should be safe and secure is in their own homes where they should feel loved and cherished. And I think we can all learn a bit about how to be healthier in our own relationships (which is also a source of discomfort for us, I think) and also learn how to recognize if someone is in a relationship that is perhaps not as healthy or safe as it could be.

I am not sure it "matters" that I "get" everything about someone else's relationship-- I am really clear that no one deserves to be hit. Or slapped. Or to have things thrown at them. Or to be intimidated. Or for their children to be afraid.

Maybe for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it would be good if we could all do what 30 organizations and businesses in Central Illinois are asking people to do on October 6 and just learn to talk about this -- not argue about it, not decide if it is a "men's thing" or a "women's thing" but just realize it is a thing that impacts everyone. Don't we want everyone to be better and live safely?

Spread the purple!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hurriyet "Liberty Is Our Right" Human Rights Train Departs for Children

On September 9, our CAEPV Member in Turkey -- Hurriyet (a newspaper group) -- launched its “Liberty is Our Right Train” for a second year – this time focusing on children's rights and the environment. The journey began in Izmir and will end on October 29 in Istanbul – visiting 41 stations in 33 cities and 8 boroughs throughout Turkey.

The “Human Rights Train Project” is a partnership of Hurriyet Newspaper and Turkish Railways. The aim of the “Liberty is Our Right Train” is to insert the concept of rights into people’s daily lives, inform them of the rights they possess based on declarations such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

There will be a variety of activities at the stations such as music, theater plays, exhibitions, forums, and workshops, and other events. Because 2009 is the 20th anniversary of Turkey signing the UN Declaration of Child Rights, these activities are designed to keep children’s rights, the theme of this year, in primary focus.

Hurriyet’s hallmark “Say No to Domestic Violence!” Campaign will also be part of these events at every stop.

And while you may not be able to read Turkish, you will be able to get the sense of all that is going on by visiting . Trust me, it is worth taking a look!

I love the way that Hurriyet goes out of their way to find ways to reach out - they take the message to the people - by train or by bus. People are always surprised when I tell them we have a CAEPV member in Turkey. . .and when I tell them all that Hurriyet does to spread the message regarding domestic violence and human rights, they are even more surprised.

Is there a newspaper group in the US doing the same? If there is, I'd love to know about it. Hurriyet certainly sets a great example.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

S2 Webinar: "Domestic Violence and the Workplace - A Multi-Disciplinary Approach from Liz Claiborne Inc." Audio/Video Recording Now Available!

On August 25 we held the S2 Webinar: Domestic Violence and the Workplace – A Multi-Disciplinary Response from Liz Claiborne. It was a wonderful session thanks to the representatives of the Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) of Liz Claiborne and we are so thankful to them for time and expertise.

An audio/visual recording of the webinar is now available for download at All materials are also available for download there.

Please also review previous webinars and all materials from our S2 project at

If you do check it out, let me know what you think!

Friday, August 28, 2009

REDBOOK September Issue Features Liz Claiborne and MADE Coalition

The September issue of REDBOOK Magazine just hit news stands with a feature article on Liz Claiborne Inc.’s MADE Coalition.

“How REDBOOK, Liz Claiborne, and YOU are putting an end to dating violence” features several of the most active MADE members including MADE co-founders Ann and Chris Burke, Carolyn Murray, Kim Davidson, Stephanie Piston, Cheri Rivard-Lentz and Michele Bullock.

This article raises vital awareness on the issue, highlights MADE’s achievements, and provides readers with the information and resources they need to protect themselves and their children.

Kudos to Stacy Morrison, REDBOOK’s Editor-In-Chief, who is a founding member of MADE and one of its strongest supporters. Check out a copy of September’s REDBOOK for yourself!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Article On Domestic Violence and the Workplace Receives "Best Article of 2008" from Academy of Management Perspectives

The journal article, Coming Into the Light, was recently recognized as the best article in the Academy of Management Perspectives for 2008.

CAEPV members Jane Randel (Liz Claiborne Inc.) and Anne O’Leary-Kelly and Carol Reeves (Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas) were co-authors on this article.

For anyone unfamiliar with this particular field of study, this is a significant recognition and should encourage other academics to take note of intimate partner violence in the workplace.

It is a great article in not only does it outline the problem - but it points to solutions. It is definitely worth a read!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Three Poems: One Survivor

An amazing woman wrote these three poems in the process of surviving and healing from domestic violence. I am honored to share her incredible journey here.

Poem 1: 'What It Means To Be A Victim
I am the beast

Which you have lain upon the alter

An offering to an angry God

I am the one

Chosen for purity's sake

Whose throat will be slit

As my blood spills out

Ask yourself

Have you come closer to God?

Is God now happy?

As my blood runs down the street

Ask yourself

Can we now find peace?

Or must we come back to this alter?

Again and again

I am the one

That sacrificial beast


Poem 2: 'What It means To be A Survivor'
I have outlived

I have outlasted

I have remained alive

I am still here

As the waters recede

As the flames diminish

As the tremors subside

I am still here

Above the fray

Above all else

To rise like a phoenix

Above and beyond

Beyond belief

Beyond understanding

Beyond a reasonable doubt

Beyond your reach

I am still here

I have outlived

I have outlasted

I have remained alive


Poem 3: 'What It Means To Heal'

I'm back


From that secret place

Curled up


No terrified

Hidden in the dark




Will I ever be safe?


Don't breathe

Not a sound

Don't let him hear you

Just the pounding of my heart

Beat by beat




The rhythm

Brings forth a song


Oh, I want to dance

To sing

To move

These numb limbs of mine

I stir

I stretch




I begin to move

To sway

To lift up my voice

What beauty

Is that really me?






So unlike before

So I dance

I sing

I love

Back again


Dedicated to Betsy

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wedding Video Now A Tool To Fight Domestic Violence

Have you seen the dancing newlyweds? Chances are good you have because their YouTube wedding procession video has been a viral hit.

Well, they are using their global fame to raise money to combat domestic violence. And it's no accident that Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz chose that cause. The video's music comes from Chris Brown, the R&B vocalist and convicted domestic abuser of fellow singing-star Rihanna.

Peterson and Heinz explain on their new Web site,, "We have been through a lot in life, but have come through each experience stronger and more in love with each other. Our experience since we posted the video has been incredible. We would never have expected this response to our wedding entrance in a million years. We hope to direct this positivity to a good cause. Due to the circumstances surrounding the song in our wedding video, we have chosen the Sheila Wellstone Institute." Peterson and Heinz note that "Sheila Wellstone was an advocate, organizer, and national champion in the effort to end domestic violence in our communities."

Wellstone officials recently reported that the video had inspired 100 people to donate more than $3,000.

The song in the video, "Forever," also has collected a surge in digital downloads of the hit since the wedding video went live July 19. Nielsen reports that digital downloads for the song went from fewer than 3,000 for the week ending July 19 to 50,000 for the week ending July 26, even though "Forever" was released in 2008.

The couple's video from the June 20 wedding at Christ Lutheran Church in St. Paul has collected more than 13 million views. It also includes an ad for downloading the song.

I think that's a pretty cool way to make something positive and uplifting and meaningful out of this Chris Brown/Rihanna situation. . . although I understand that not everyone who sees the video gets the point of them using this music. And I get that too. But above all I wish them a wonderful, long, safe, secure, and healthy married life. And may they always dance.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Free Webinar on Domestic Violence and the Workplace Featuring Liz Claiborne Domestic Violence Response Team (August 25, 2009)

Domestic Violence and the Workplace - A Multi-Disciplinary Approach from Liz Claiborne - is an educational opportunity provided through the ongoing work of the national S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace Project.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. CT
11:00 -12:30 p.m. PT

Enlightened employers and EAPs recognize the importance of addressing domestic violence in the workplace as part of their overall response to workplace and employee safety.

Liz Claiborne Inc. (LCI) responds to this issue through the use of a Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) - a multi-disciplinary team that specializes in dealing with domestic violence and the workplace. Selected team members from LCI will offer unique perspectives and expertise regarding their program, lessons learned, and lessons they are still learning.

• Lori Keurian, Deputy General Counsel, Liz Claiborne Inc.
• Jane Kropiewnicki, Manager, Workplace Solutions, Liz Claiborne Inc.
• Hank Linden, Vice President, Account Management, Longview Associates
• Jane Randel, Vice President Corporate Communications, Liz Claiborne Inc.
• Ken Rayca, Director of Loss Prevention, Liz Claiborne Inc.

The deadline for registration is Friday, August 21, 2009. (Registrations will only be taken until the webinar is full - so register early!)

Click here to register for the webinar.

The S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace conference was presented by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. This conference was made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with additional support provided by The Allstate Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, CALCASA, Health Care Service Corporation, and Texas Health Resources. The Technology Sponsor for the conference was the Verizon Foundation.

The conference planning workgroup includes representatives from the following organizations: Chestnut Global Partners; CIGNA; Gap Inc.; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Macy's West; Magellan Health Services; OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Click To Empower Is Back!

The click in “ClickToEmpower” is coming back!

Beginning July 15 and running through September 15, The Allstate Foundation’s Economics’ Against Abuse Program needs your help in deciding which of four organizations should receive $100,000.

Charity Cars, Inc, Family Justice Center Alliance, Safe Horizon and YWCA are “competing” in phase-two of the ClickToEmpower campaign.

Just visit or their Facebook Fan Page at vote for the charity you think can best help to empower domestic violence survivors—the organization with the most votes wins the $100,000 donation!

Since all of these organizations can help survivors build their financial independence, the three runner-up organizations will receive a $10,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation.

Take a few seconds to tell CAEPV member The Allstate Foundation which charity can do the most good for survivors during these tough economic times.

Just a few clicks of your mouse can help support those in need, so don’t forget to vote once every 24 hours until September 15.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


There has been debate within the domestic violence field regarding the need and value of moving Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) from October to another month. Several domestic violence prevention agencies have suggested that DVAM is now in direct “competition” with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the United Way General Campaign, reducing the impact of efforts to call attention to and mobilize response to domestic violence. Some advocates believe that changing the month is too complicated and confusing and/or will raise new issues which may negate any value to be gained or already achieved. And others argue that it will take more than changing the month to resolve “competition” issues.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Network to End Domestic Violence and National Resource Center on Domestic Violence are asking advocates around the country to take a survey on this important issue.

The national groups are requesting input from national, state and local domestic violence program executive directors – or their designees – who have first-hand knowledge and experience planning DVAM activities and/or fundraisers. Feedback will be used to inform decisions related to any change in the timing of DVAM and to help guide transitions if the field endorses changing to a new month.

May and September are being offered as alternatives because of weather considerations in many parts of the country, because these months fall outside of United Way campaign periods, because there are no other large awareness campaigns during these two months, and because they have been most frequently mentioned in previous surveys of the field.

Visit to take the survey and complete it no later than Friday, July 10. Each domestic violence agency should complete only ONE survey.

Any change in the timing of DVAM would not occur until 2010 at the earliest, and support will be provided to the field throughout any transition. Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2009 will take place in October, as in previous years.

Thank you!

Monday, June 29, 2009

National Poll Reveals Economic Abuse Defined Differently on Main Street than Wall Street

This poll by The Allstate Foundation is so interesting - people don't see the connection between domestic violence and "economic abuse" . . . but they do realize how important financial independence is for a survivor. I also love that The Allstate Foundation isn't just polling. . .they've created a curriculum that can help survivors achieve financial independence.

While 70 percent of Americans know people who are or have been victims of domestic violence, nearly the same percentage of Americans fail to see a connection between domestic violence and “economic abuse,” according to a national poll released by The Allstate Foundation on June 23, 2009.

Economic abuse is a tactic commonly used by abusers to control their victims’ finances and prevent them from leaving a dangerous relationship. However, the survey also revealed nearly eight out of 10 Americans link economic abuse to Wall Street woes or irresponsible spending.

“Many people associate domestic violence with physical cuts and bruises, but bruises on your credit score and being cut off from access to money, create lasting scars that make it hard, if not impossible, for abuse victims to recover,” said Jennifer Kuhn, manager of the Economics Against Abuse Program at The Allstate Foundation. “For victims of domestic violence, economic abuse is much more personal - and dangerous.”

To better educate Americans about this often overlooked aspect of domestic violence, The Allstate Foundation provides the following signs to recognize economic abuse:

· Taking money, credit card or property from a partner without their permission
· Racking up debt without a partner’s knowledge
· Purposely ruining a partner’s credit score
· Forbidding a partner from earning money or attending school
· Being forced by a partner to hand over paychecks
· Cancelling insurance or credit cards without the partner’s knowledge
· Harassing a partner at work to negatively impact a job

“A downturn in the economy impacts us all, but it disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable members of society, including domestic violence survivors,” said Rene Renick, director of program and operations at The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). “Now more than ever it’s important that domestic violence survivors build economic skills to overcome financial instability, a major barrier to escape and stay out of an abusive situation.”

The Allstate Foundation, in partnership with NNEDV, recently developed a Financial Empowerment Curriculum to help victims achieve financial independence. The Financial Empowerment Curriculum includes financial tools and information designed to enable survivors of domestic abuse to fully understand their financial circumstances, as well as engage in short-term and long-term planning (e.g., budgeting tools, step-by-step planners, tips, etc.) to accomplish their personal goals.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about how economic empowerment can lead to a safe and financially secure future,” said Kuhn. “With resources like the Financial Empowerment Curriculum, we’re providing tools to domestic violence survivors and others who may need financial guidance in these tough economic times.”

The user-friendly curriculum is available in a variety of formats, including hard copy, Spanish-language, DVD and downloadable versions at Also available are e-learning modules to help people of all incomes and earning power work toward long-term economic empowerment.

Other national survey findings include:

· More than three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) believe the poor economy has made it more difficult for victims of domestic violence, and two-thirds (66 percent) believe it has caused an increase in domestic violence.
· 44 percent say the most difficult barrier to leaving an abusive relationship is financial security.
· Almost 60 percent of Americans don’t see a connection between harassing a partner at work and economic abuse, even if it may cost the victim their job and ultimately limiting income.

The Allstate Foundation “Crisis: Economics and Domestic Violence” poll was a nationwide telephone survey of 708 Americans conducted in May 2009 by Murphy Marketing Research. The survey sample was generated by random digit dialing and represents a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. The survey sample was designed to closely mirror the breakdown of the current U.S. population with 10 percent African-American and 10 percent Hispanic respondents.

For the full survey results, please visit

The Allstate Foundation Economics Against Abuse Program helps domestic violence survivors build their financial independence to get free and stay free from abuse. Seeing a significant gap in resources for programs designed to assist survivors with the economic challenges that they face, The Allstate Foundation took action and partnered with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to create a comprehensive program. Economics Against Abuse provides resources, funds direct services and spreads the word on how to empower those touched by domestic and economic abuse. For more information and to find out how to help, visit

Thursday, June 18, 2009


In this economy it is more important than ever to take a stand together to address domestic violence in the workplace.

And what better way to stand together than by having our CEOs sign a pledge? If your organization is not already part of SafeWork 2010, now is the time!

To view the growing list of CEOs who have signed the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, click here.

And what is the Pledge? It is very simple:

I am committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence in the workplace. I recognize that domestic violence impacts my employees, my company and my business. Therefore, I pledge to take action, lead change, and raise awareness as a member of SafeWork 2010.

CEOs sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, committing to address the impact of domestic violence in their workplace. To help them learn more about SafeWork 2010, they receive an awesome CEO Action Kit created by Safe Horizon and CAEPV provided by the generous support of The Allstate Foundation. (There are WONDERFUL resources in that kit!!)

If you are interested in having your CEO sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, contact Joanna Colangelo at Safe Horizon at

What Did You Walk Into Work With Today?

I have been dealing with the flu all week - and I have been crawling into the office and doing the best I can to work and concentrate. But I am not doing a very good job. And if you have ever had the flu, you know what I mean - your head hurts, you are coughing, you have a fever, you can't concentrate, and you generally feel lousy. But in my case, there is no one else to do my job except me.

But how productive am I really? (Not to mention dangerous to co-workers -- don't worry -- I am keeping myself away from other people). This is what workplace experts call presenteeism -- you are "present" but you are not really working or productive.

As lousy as I may feel, I am not fearing for my life, and I was not battered by my partner last night, and I am not fearful for my children, and I am not afraid to go home tonight. But imagine I was. . .what would that be like for me? How could I possibly concentrate and do a good job if I was being abused at home?

I cannot imagine. But people do it every day. And as we know from surveys we have done, 21% of full-time employees deal with this in their work lives, and 64% of them said that their work lives were impacted.

So when you think about how hard it is to walk into work distracted by a cold, or the flu, or a sick child or ill parent. . . imagine what it must be like to walk into work with domestic violence going on at home.

If you need resources or assistance for your workplace program, check out our site at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Survey Links The Troubled Economy to High Levels of Teen Dating Violence and Abuse

This survey was released June 10 by CAEPV Members Liz Claiborne Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Full topline results can be downloaded from the CAEPV website at

A new survey reports that teens nationwide are experiencing significant levels of dating abuse, and the economy appears to be making it worse. Nearly half of teens (44%) whose families have experienced economic problems in the past year report that they have witnessed their parents abusing each other. Alarmingly, 67% of these same teens experienced some form of violence or abuse in their own relationships and report a 50% higher rate of dating abuse compared to teens who have not witnessed domestic violence between their parents.

For the first time, data also shows that despite the fact that the majority of parents say they are comfortable talking about these issues, parents are not effective in educating their children about the dangers of dating abuse. 74% of sons and 66% of daughters say they have not had a conversation about dating abuse this past year. Even more troubling, the majority of teens who are in abusive relationships report they have not talked to their parents. Of the fewer than 1/3 who do confide in their parents, 78% of these teens report staying in these abusive relationships despite their parents’ advice.

Liz Claiborne Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund commissioned the survey “Impact of the Economy and Parent/Teen Dialogue on Dating Relationships and Abuse” conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) to explore how the economy has impacted dating relationships among young adolescents and to determine the level and impact of parental engagement in the issue of teen dating violence and abuse.

Recognizing this critical need for education, Liz Claiborne Inc. and Macy’s are joining forces with national teen dating abuse awareness campaigns designed to educate both teens and parents about the warning signs and dangers of teen dating violence and abuse and ultimately save lives.

Liz Claiborne Inc.’s newly launched MADE (Moms and Dads for Education) to Stop Teen Dating Abuse,, is a growing coalition of concerned parents, teens, education advocates and community leaders urging schools across the country to teach about teen dating violence and abuse. MADE members are uniting today in Washington, D.C. to push for teen dating abuse education and urge parents to make their voices heard as part of this movement.

“Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working over the past five years through our Love Is Not Abuse campaign to raise the level of awareness on teen dating abuse and communicate the vital importance of education to help teens. This new data reveals that 75% of teens who have been taught about dating abuse say it has helped them recognize the signs of abuse. But sadly, the data also shows that only a quarter of the teens have ever taken a course,” says Jane Randel, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Liz Claiborne Inc. “MADE is working with the support of the 50 State Attorneys General and the National Foundation for Women Legislators to introduce curricula on dating violence education in every middle school and high school in every state.”

At the same time, to provide resources to help parents, Macy’s is sponsoring the Family Violence Prevention Fund’s RESPECT! Campaign which works to promote healthy relationships and stop relationship violence through positive role modeling and respect education. The RESPECT! Campaign provides parents with the much needed resources and communications tools to talk with their children early about respect and positive relationships.(

"This poll shows a disconnect between what some parents think is happening with their teenage children and what teens say they are experiencing," said Family Violence Prevention Fund President, Esta Soler. "Not enough parents recognize behaviors that may be warning signs of abuse. It concerns us that about one-third of parents don't recognize that isolation from family, being kept away from family by a dating partner, and isolation from friends can be danger signs. We are making progress educating parents, but we'd like those numbers to be higher. So we have more work to do. Dating violence is a huge problem in this country, and we need parents, schools and everyone to take responsibility for helping keep teens safe. Macy's is leading the way with its support for the RESPECT! campaign, which offers the tools parents need to define and promote healthy relationships, and intervene effectively if abuse begins."

MADE Co-Founder Ann Burke testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing addressing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and funding for teen dating abuse education and prevention initiatives. Ann and Chris Burke worked tirelessly with Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch to advocate for The Lindsay Ann Burke Act which was adopted in 2007 and requires all school districts in Rhode Island to teach about the signs of dating violence and abuse every year from grades 7- 12. The Act was named in honor of Lindsay Ann Burke, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend after a 2-year struggle in an abusive relationship.

Survey Methodology
Liz Claiborne Inc. and Family Violence Prevention Fund commissioned TRU to conduct quantitative research among teens who have been in a relationship (ages 13-18) and parents of teens (ages 11-18) about young dating relationships and the presence/absence of abusive behaviors. TRU independently sampled the two groups and fielded a customized 15-minute survey online to both groups from April 10 to May 5, 2009. TRU recommended online as the data-collection method for this research not only because of its high penetration (93%) among this population, but also because of the sensitive nature of the content of this survey, allowing young people to answer candidly (i.e., no adult interviewer) within the context of their preferred communications method. A total of 1,233 teens and 500 parents completed the survey, resulting in a margin of error (at the 95% confidence level) of ±2.8 percentage points for teens in total, and ±4.4 percentage points for parents.

Liz Claiborne Inc.
Since 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working to end domestic violence. Through its Love Is Not Abuse program, the company provides information and tools that men, women, children, teens and corporate executives can use to learn more about the issue and find out how they can help end this epidemic. Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse curriculum was officially launched in April 2006 and has been distributed to approximately 4900 schools and organizations across all 50 states.

Family Violence Prevention Fund
The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because everyone has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at

Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Macy's stores and offer distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy's is known for such epic events as Macy's 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers. For Macy’s media materials, images and contacts, please visit our online pressroom at

National Foundation for Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)
Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports women legislators from all levels of governance. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It Can Happen To ANYONE

I was reading this article in the Boston Herald and I was struck by the opening lines:

"From the way defense attorney Jeffrey Denner questioned her, one would think Sandra Boss - not the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller - was the one on trial.

Again and again, Denner reminded Boss, 42, that she was a Harvard-educated, senior partner with the global management consulting firm McKinsey and Co. before asking how someone so intelligent and accomplished could be so easily duped and controlled."

I zeroed in on this because this is thought "regular people" (not just defense attorneys) have verbalized to me in a different way: "This doesn't happen to smart, educated, professional people, does it? I mean, they would know better, right?"

The answer is -- domestic violence can (and does) happen to ANYONE. It does not care how smart you are, where you live, how much education you have, what you do for a living, or how much money you make.

In the United States, domestic violence happens to 21% of full time employed adults - see for the 2005 landmark survey work that the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence did on this issue, and for the 2007 follow-up survey by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, Liz Claiborne Inc. and Safe Horizon regarding employees and CEOs.

It is interesting to me when I talk to people about what I do and about the impacts on the workplace and they say "Wow - that is amazing. I am sure, though that never happens here because we have 'XYZ' type of employees/occupations at this workplace so that would not be an issue."

Well, if statistics are statistics, and good research is good research (and we worked really hard to makes sure ours was). . .it seems pretty likely that there ARE people employed pretty much anywhere dealing with domestic violence, doesn't it?

Like your workplace. Or mine.

The Boston Herald article says "It is not unusual for a wealthy, well-educated woman to keep silent out of a sense of shame and fear of being met with disbelief because of her husband's status in the community."

That is something to consider. For anyone. Because it can happen to ANYONE.

If you need help with a policy or program for your workplace, check out our resources at

For help with domestic violence resources across the US, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Allstate Wins Best PR Campaign for "Tell A Gal P.A.L. Campaign on Domestic Violence

I just LOVE this example of a company doing well by doing good!

CAEPV Member Allstate recently won the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Skyline Award for the Best PR Campaign of the Year for their “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” campaign on domestic violence.

The “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” program focuses on purses as they serve as symbol of economic empowerment for women. Research from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shows that women with financial skills are more likely to leave abusive situations and sustain themselves and their families on a long-term basis.

Through its “Pass It On, Act and Learn,” the “Tell a Gal P.A.L.” campaign creates awareness and starts an open dialogue about domestic violence and how economic empowerment can provide a path to a safe future. “Pass it On, Act and Learn” consists of the following important steps:

P -Pass It On— Spread the word to your gal pals that domestic violence touches all of us and it can happen to anyone. Let your gal pals know that financial abuse is part of domestic abuse. Talk freely about domestic violence to break down the taboo.

A- Act— Small acts make a big difference. Encourage your gal pals to actively plan for a secure financial future. Start a savings plan for emergencies or get a copy of your credit report.

L - Learn—Learn about the resources available to help yourself, or someone you know, out of an abusive situation. Take steps to protect your personal and financial safety whether you’re in an abusive relationship or not, and empower yourself.

For additional information, visit

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Mary Kay's Truth About Abuse" Survey Links Economic Downturn to National Increase in Domestic Violence

CAEPV Member Mary Kay Inc. recently announced results from “Mary Kay’s Truth About Abuse” survey of domestic violence shelters across the country. The findings reveal an alarming trend: three out of four domestic violence shelters report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse since September 2008, a major turning point in the U.S. economy. The survey data directly connects a major reason for the increase in domestic violence to the downturn in the economy.

“Mary Kay’s Truth About Abuse” survey polled more than 600 domestic violence shelters nationwide. Representatives of the shelters surveyed report they have observed an increase in requests for assistance from domestic violence victims because of the following reasons:

· Seventy-three percent attribute the rise in abuse to “financial issues.”
· “Stress” and “job loss” (61 percent and 49 percent, respectively) also proved to be leading contributing factors in the reported increase in domestic violence cases involving women.

“Mary Kay’s survey confirms what we’ve been hearing from domestic violence programs across the country,” said Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “The economic downturn is exacerbating domestic violence. The demand for domestic violence services is growing, and we must increase support for victims during this difficult time. Now more than ever, we urge corporations and other organizations to follow Mary Kay’s lead in the fight to end domestic violence.”

Mary Kay’s survey compared four U.S. regions, including the Northeast, South, Midwest and West. Survey highlights include:

The number of shelters reporting an increase in women seeking help as a result of domestic violence since September 2008:

· The region with the largest reported increase was the South (78 percent); followed by
· The Midwest region, which reported a 74 percent increase;
· The Northeast takes the No. 3 place with a 72 percent reported increase; and
· The West rounds out the regional list with a 71 percent reported increase in women seeking help as a result of domestic violence.

The survey also inquired about the cause(s) for the increase in domestic violence cases across regions:
· Seventy-five percent of shelters in the West report “financial issues.”
· Approximately 66 percent of respondents in the Midwest note “stress.”
· More than half of respondents (53 percent) in the South report “job loss.”
· The “loss of a home or vehicle” was reported more often in the Midwest than other regions, with 44 percent; the Northeast had the lowest with 35 percent.
· Reasons more commonly associated with domestic violence, such as “substance abuse” and “relationship challenges,” also contributed to the increase in domestic violence shelter assistance in each region, according to the survey.

To help combat domestic violence, Mary Kay Inc. is launching a national philanthropic campaign, Beauty That Counts™. In the United States, from May 1, 2009, through Dec. 15, 2009, $1 will be donated from each sale of Beauty That Counts™ Mary Kay® Creme Lipstick in limited-edition Pink Passion and in Gingerbread. As part of its U.S.-based efforts, Mary Kay Inc. is proud to support the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation in its ongoing commitment to end domestic violence. For more information on Mary Kay’s Beauty That CountsTM program or its U.S. philanthropic efforts, please visit

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dealing with Batterers in the Workplace - Webinar Follow Up

On Tuesday, May 12, we had a "all seats taken" for our webinar on "Dealing with Batterers in the Workplace." This is one in our series of S2: Safer, Smarter Workplace webinars.

Not only was the webinar full, but people were sharing "virtual seats" with three, four or five people participating in the webinar sharing one computer and phone line so as many folks as possible could participate.

We had a great line up:

- Tim Parker, Manager of Corporate Security, L.L. Bean (Employer Perspective)

- Dan Fallon, Health Promotion and Wellness Consultant, CIGNA (EAP Perspective)

- Juan Ramos, Senior Program Director, Domestic Violence Accountability Program, Safe Horizon (Batterer's Program Perspective)

There were a lot of text chat questions and this webinar was a great start to discuss this truly important and difficult issue.

If you could not be there, we have the next best thing for you. The audio and video recording of the webinar is available at at

The materials and downloads for the webinar are available at

While this discussion in no way "solves" this very difficult issue for employers, it certainly opens a path for discussion and consideration.

Please feel free to dial into the webinar and download the materials! Also note the other materials that CAEPV has available to assist you as you look at these issues - they are also available directly from this page.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Six Steps for Creating a Domestic Violence in the Workplace Program That Works

Here are the "six steps" that we suggest at the Corporate Alliance ( for creating a successful domestic violence in the workplace policy. You can find an entire downloadable document on these six steps on our website at in our Take Action/Starting a Workplace Program Section.

1) Organize a multi-disciplinary team to oversee the process

A multidisciplinary team allows the stakeholders in different areas of the company to plan for program implementation in a way that works best for the organization. The stakeholder group should establish a realistic action plan and timeline for implementing the program. Areas that should be represented on the team include professionals from the following areas: human resources; health and medical; legal; security; internal communications; public or media relations or consumer affairs; community outreach; employee assistance programs (EAPs); and unions.

A key component to the success of a workplace program is a commitment from the uppermost levels of the organization. To give the team legitimacy, it is optimal to have the chief executive officer (CEO) or president appoint its members. In this first step, employers may want to consider surveying employees regarding issues of workplace safety, including intimate partner violence. This approach allows the multidisciplinary team to have a baseline level regarding employee awareness of all workplace safety issues.

2) Develop a workplace policy addressing intimate partner violence

The CAEPV sample policy includes the issue of intimate partner violence in a more comprehensive policy on workplace safety. This fact does not mean that a company cannot have a separate policy on domestic violence as a workplace issue. For example, Liz Claiborne has two distinct policies; however, the inclusion of intimate partner violence within a comprehensive policy may streamline the process for many companies.

The multidisciplinary team should review existing policies and procedures to determine whichmpolicy covers the issue of intimate partner violence. Examples of such policies include family friendly benefits, such as flexible leave time that can be used to attend court or go to counseling. The policy should allow supervisors and human resources professionals to offer paid time off, flexible hours, or new shifts to victims so that the victims can avoid or flee their batterers, seek social service assistance, or deal with legal matters. Policies should emphasize mthat no violence or threats of violence should take place on workplace grounds or while an employee is on duty or acting in the interests of the employer, and they should spell out potential consequences of such actions.

This approach holds true whether the person making the threat is to a co-worker, vendor, or intimate partner at home. It allows companies to discipline abusive employees who are violent or who threaten violence, including those who use workplace phones, faxes, or e-mail to harass their intimate partners.

State and municipal laws vary greatly with reference to intimate partner violence and workplace issues such as unemployment insurance and nondiscrimination laws. Companies should work directly with their legal departments to develop policies and programs. They can access up-todate information on legislation regarding intimate partner violence and unemployment insurance, leave for victims of domestic violence, nondiscrimination laws, domestic violence policies, and workplace restraining orders at the Legal Momentum website

The focus of workplace policies and plans should be safety issues for the workplace and for the victim. Keep in mind that a workplace policy and program is only as good as the internal culture that supports it. Companies must create a workplace in which victimized employees believe that they will get help and will not be fired or discriminated against for sharing this information with a supervisor or manager. The same must be true for batterers who voluntarily seek help through workplace resources.

3) Provide training - "Recognize, Respond and Refer"

A series of departments within each organization should be trained; first and foremost, all members of the interdisciplinary team should receive training. This training includes awareness and general knowledge of intimate partner violence and familiarity with the company’s policies and protocols in handling such cases. Specific protocols include determining who brings the team together when a case comes up and how cases are reviewed. This training must take place before any internal publicity about the policy or program.

Members of the security team should be trained to perform threat assessments; help create individual workplace safety plans; and assist victims of intimate partner violence by providing escorts to and from the office, securing parking and work spaces, screening calls, and providing other services. In some states, employers can apply for orders of protection on behalf of victimized employees.

The goal is to train managers to recognize -- to be aware of signs of violence for potential victims and perpetrators, and local domestic violence service providers often can assist with this training at little or no cost. Because managers are not in a position to address domestic violence as a separate issue unless the employee self-discloses the problem, managers should understand how to respond – to appropriately address changes in behavior that is affecting performance. Finally, managers should learn to whom to refer – whom to call internally and externally if such a situation arises.

Training should include issues of privacy and confidentiality. In some companies, information regarding a domestic violence situation is kept separately from the regular employee file to protect the confidentiality of the victim. Company representatives should not give personal advice or counseling (unless they are part of an in-house EAP)—this type of help should be left to the experts. Explanations of items, such as protective orders and how to enforce them under local law, are helpful. Training should outline what actions are appropriate and what referrals are available. Policies and protocols are guidelines, however, and there are not always black and white correct answers. Many incidents have to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Employee education should include an understanding of intimate partner violence, possible warning signs, and how to respond sensitively and confidentially when victimized employees are identified. Employees should learn how to communicate with a victim or a perpetrator. As in the case of managers, coworkers are not counselors but are facilitators for helping co-workers.

4) Build awareness through workplace communications

Employers can use newsletters, payroll stuffers, e-mail, intranet sites, posters, and brochures to provide ongoing information to employees. Many of these materials are available for free or for a nominal fee from local service providers and other organizations such as CAEPV(

Employers should incorporate information about awareness of domestic
violence into employee orientation programs, handbooks, or intranet-based human resources information. For the best effect, educational and awareness programs on domestic violence should be intertwined with other complimentary programs. Employee wellness fairs, workplace safety programs, and family issues seminars are effective venues for sharing information about intimate partner violence.

5) Enlist employees' help to ensure a violence-free zone

Employees should know that they will not be penalized for seeking help for themselves, their families, or co-workers. In conjunction with the human resources department and EAP (if applicable), employers should offer resources for victims of intimate partner violence and abusers. Employees should be educated regarding security procedures to keep themselves and others safe in the workplace, including how to avoid inadvertently giving batterers access to victims and where to go to report a potential threat. Employees should receive information on how to recognize the signs of a troublesome or abusive relationship and know where to turn for
assistance for themselves or for co-workers.

A 2001 study found that perpetrators of deadly domestic violence had several common characteristics, including extreme jealousy and possessiveness, stalking, and hitting victims at least once before the death occurred. All of these abusers had been violent with a previous partner. In this study, everyone who was close to the victims and perpetrators knew that something was wrong in the relationships but did not intervene. Employers must work with victims to develop an individualized workplace safety plan without making assistance contingent on any action by the abused person (eg, leaving the batterer).

For additional employee education, employers can invite local resource groups, such as local shelters, counseling groups, or law enforcement agencies, to provide speakers for company programs. Most local groups are happy to provide speakers and information. Companies should empower employees to take a stand—as caring co-workers and as the company’s ambassadors. Interested employees can form a communications task force that works within the guidelines established by the cross-functional steering committee to implement a communications plan.

6) Broaden communications to include the community, important stakeholders in the company’s industry, and other organizations

Employers can spread the word and encourage other companies to participate by communicating the message to key external stakeholders, including local and trade media, community and trade organizations, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and government officials. Networking with other employers to share case studies and best practices strengthens the employer’s program and provides a forum to provide assistance to other employers that may be interested in addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue.

Whether individually or in groups, these employers are committed to reaching out to the community to engage local service providers in training their staff or EAP members. They also engage employees in volunteer activities for service providers. They partner with service agencies for events, such as medical fairs, employee-wellness fairs, and community projects, and conduct drives to collect clothes, toys, furniture, or money for a local domestic violence program or shelter.

Employers who take on the challenge of addressing intimate partner violence as a workplace issue are true leaders. They are choosing enlightened self-interest in an effort to save lives—and change society. As a survivor of intimate partner violence shared with me, ‘‘Were it not for my company’s program on intimate partner violence, not only would I probably not have a job, I would probably not be alive today.’’

This is not exhaustive but it is a start --now are you ready to take action?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Building a Community Response to Domestic Violence - It Takes Everyone

I am at the Innovation Through Collaboration: Building a Community Response to Family Violence national conference One of the cool things about this conference is that it has "tracks" -- Business, Legal, Victim Services, Health Care, and Faith.

I love that there is a business track for this conference. So many times when we talk about a coordinated community response to family violence, the community thinks of many players at the table - law enforcement, the educational community, the faith community, the medical community, service providers . . but often employers are not thought of as an important part of the community at the table.

Not only will workplaces employ victims (and batterers) but they are also a rich network of information and assistance for those they employ. After all, where do we spend a majority of our time? At work. Where do we have the potential to get a great deal of information about the the resources and assistance available in the community? At work.

And where are we likely to manifest the difficulties we are experiencing at home? At work.

And if workplaces better understand family violence because they are part of the collaboration, they are more likely to respond effectively.

It is a win-win for everyone in the community.

"Innovation Through Collaboration." It is a great title for a conference. . .and it is a great model for our communities. And it takes all of us to be part of it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What if the Abusive Person Works for You?

We (by we I mean the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence/CAEPV) spend a lot of time helping employers build policies and programs and infrastructure to keep their workplaces safe and to protect their most important asset - their employees.

A lot of that work tends to be focused around what an employer can do to help keep an employee who is a victim safe - things like making sure employees have access to resources both within the community and within the workplace (like the EAP, HR, security), giving the employee access to safe parking, perhaps changing work locations or work hours, removing a telephone number from an external directory. An employer can also be listed on an order of protection and have a copy of that order and work with the employee to enforce it by having a description of the perpetrator on file along with a photo. These and many other such ideas for assisting employees who are victims are available on our website at

But what do you do when your employee is the perpetrator? That does not seem quite so cut and dried, right? What if they did not perpetrate anything on your property? It is not your business, right?

Well maybe. . or maybe not. Just like in any good workplace violence policy, you should not allow ANY employee to use your workplace resources or time to threaten or abuse anyone - whether co-worker, family member, vendor or. . .well anyone.

If an employee of yours uses your telephones to call and harass a victim. . .they've potentially violated your policy. If they use your vehicle to check up on a victim. . .they've potentially violated your policy. If they use your computer to send a threatening email . . .you see the point.

So - it may well be that the perpetrator is ver well doing something on your property - it may not be exactly the same as hitting the person, but it may very well be threatening or stalking. . and at the very least it is not the use of your company resources in the way you would have wished.

So how much does this happen? Well one 2003 study by 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 in violation of a no contact order

So that just gives you a little bit of an idea of the potential usage of an employer's workplace.

We are providing a webinar on May 12 with some awesome experts on this topic - unfortunately it filled up so fast that I can't offer the registration link through this blog. However that does tell you something about employers' interest in this issue.

The good news is that we will have a link with the video and audio of the webinar available once it is completed so if folks missed out they'll be able to view it. Not quite the same as participating,but they will be able to get some of the good information.

In the meantime, we do have great info on our site. . .and just remember - if you have victims working for you, you have batterers working for you too.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Domestic Violence - It's Everybody's Business

I have been thinking about writing this blog entry for a couple days now. This past week has been incredibly sad. I’ve had to do something a person should never have to do -- try to help people understand why fathers would kill their children – because it happened here where we are located, and then it happened in Washington State. I can explain some of the possible “whys” to people – but that is different than understanding it myself.

I can explain that an abuser can say or think “if I can’t have you, no one else can,” and by extension they can mean the children. Or an abuser wants to punish the victim of abuse in the worst way possible. And that is by killing the children. I can explain those things. . but it doesn’t mean I understand them.

You know, I can write and speak on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace, and I can tell you what how it affects your company and your employees. I can even tell you what you should do about it and give you great practices and great resources through our website at

I do know that helps make a difference. When companies address this issue it is “enlightened self interest” for them – especially in these turbulent times. And it is great for our society – when companies stand up and say “Hey, domestic violence IS our business –and we want to do something to address it” that sends a strong message to all segments of society – and to employees who are victims and abusers.

However, one of the things I have learned is that while the “business case” is vitally important, until an employer personally understands the very human cost of domestic violence, they won’t fully “get it.” Until they see the very human face of domestic violence, they won’t see it as their “business” and things won’t really change much.

Isn't that true for all of us?

This past week has been really, really personal for a lot of people – from Washington State to New York State and in between right here in Central Illinois. My heart goes out to everyone who has suffered a loss.

I hope we all see these faces of people we may or may not know and learn from their incredible loss and act to make a difference. So there is not a next time.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


We are pleased to announce that Rochelle Lefkowitz, President and Founder of Pro-Media Communications, has taken the SafeWork 2010 Pledge! We are especially proud of this since Pro-Media is a CAEPV member!

Pro-Media is a bicoastal communications firm dedicated to social change, infused with a commitment to justice, equality and progressive issues. Pro-Media represents some of the most widely-respected organizations and individuals in the fields of economic and social justice, intellectual freedom, women’s rights, health care, criminal justice reform, philanthropy, education and other progressive social issues – and so it makes perfect sense they would want to engage in addressing domestic violence education and awareness programs for their own employees.

To view the growing list of CEOs who have signed the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, click here. And what is the Pledge? It is very simple:

I am committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence in the workplace. I recognize that domestic violence impacts my employees, my company and my business. Therefore, I pledge to take action, lead change, and raise awareness as a member of SafeWork 2010.

CEOs sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, committing to address the impact of domestic violence in their workplace. To help them learn more about SafeWork 2010, they receive an awesome CEO Action Kit created by Safe Horizon and CAEPV provided by the generous support of The Allstate Foundation.

If you are interested in having your CEO sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, contact Joanna Colangelo at Safe Horizon at