Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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 http://www.thehotline.org. Or for teens, check out the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline -- on the web at http://www.loveisrespect.org 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!)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is participating in Liz Claiborne Inc’s 7th 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.  On December 8th Kim Wells will be on “Radio Row” talking about domestic violence at Liz Claiborne headquarters in New York City. For more information visit www.loveisnotabuse.com.

As Liz Claiborne CEO Bill McComb said during the kick off of It's Time to Talk Day at a special screening of "Telling Amy's Story" on December 7, just take a moment to talk to someone about domestic violence/dating violence and share something you've learned.  You could save a life.

Let's talk on December 8 - and keep on talking!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I usually share something cool that happens to another organization courtesy of the companies that we work with here at the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV).  Today I am writing about a wonderful contribution we received to further our work to make domestic violence "Everybody's Business."

On November 30, 2010, Verizon Wireless announced that the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) is receiving a $30,000 donation from HopeLine® from Verizon, aiding CAEPV in its mission to help businesses address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), intimate partner violence victims lose a total of nearly 8 million days of paid work a year, the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs, and the cost of domestic violence to the U.S. economy is more than $8.3 billion. A 2005 national telephone survey by CAEPV found that 21 percent of full-time employed adults were victims of domestic violence and 64 percent of them indicated their work performance was significantly impacted.

The HopeLine from Verizon donation will help CAEPV fund educational programs and webinars that help increase employer awareness of domestic violence as a workplace issue and offer strategies for how employers can recognize and respond to this issue.

"Domestic violence can affect people of all backgrounds in all aspects of their lives, including the workplace," said Elva Lima, executive director of community relations for Verizon Wireless. "We're honored to partner with organizations like CAEPV that are working to increase awareness of domestic violence outside the home and providing much needed tools and resources to help reduce partner violence."

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the costs and consequences of partner violence at work – and eliminating it altogether. From policies and programs to legal issues and legislation, CAEPV is a credible source for information, materials and advice.

"We are very grateful to receive this donation from Verizon Wireless and for their ongoing dedication to preventing domestic violence both within the workplace and in communities," said Kim Wells, executive director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. "Domestic violence doesn't stop at the door when employees go to work, and the HopeLine donation allows us to further raise awareness and help workplaces manage this issue."

The long-running HopeLine program puts the nation's most reliable wireless network to work in the community by turning no-longer-used wireless phones into support for those affected by domestic violence. Proceeds from the HopeLine program are used to provide wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence and cash grants to local shelters and nonprofit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention, awareness and advocacy. Learn more about HopeLine at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnkDUsmkQlk

For more information on HopeLine from Verizon, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline. To learn more about CAEPV, visit www.caepv.org

We are so excited to be able to invest these funds in changing the landscape of society by addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue.  More to come!

Friday, November 12, 2010


CAEPV Member Liz Claiborne Inc. and it’s partners have been joining forces for It's Time to Talk Day annually as a way to encourage greater public dialogue about domestic violence. The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is proud to be one of those partners.

Liz Claiborne Inc. created It’s Time to Talk Day to draw major national attention to the importance of talking about domestic violence, teen dating violence and intimate partner abuse.

This year, they are continuing their very successful partnership with Talk Radio News Service by sponsoring their annual “Talk Radio Row on Domestic Violence” at Liz Claiborne Inc. headquarters in New York City.

Around the country, talk radio, government officials, domestic violence advocates, businesses, schools and the public-at-large take a moment - or more - to talk openly about an issue that affects nearly one in three women at some point in their lifetime. In fact, millions of talk radio listeners around the country were reached with the message since the inception of It’s Time to Talk Day in 2004.

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.

Partners for 2010 include Seventeen, the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL), MTV’s digital abuse campaign “A Thin Line,” Love is Louder, Verizon Foundation and Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation -- joining domestic violence advocates and experts, attorneys general, local, state and federal legislators, celebrities, corporate and government leaders, parents and teens on air to talk about what we can do to end domestic violence and teen dating abuse, how we can get involved in prevention, and how and where victims can get help.

Radio Row will begin at morning drive time, 5 a.m., and will end about 7 p.m. EST. Every hour, a group of different featured guests will be interviewed by the talk radio hosts on the air at that time.

You can make a difference by hosting an It's Time to Talk Day event in your community. For the past several years cities and organizations from around the country held various programs to raise awareness of the issue. Programs and events have ranged from big, organized efforts such as press conferences, walks and vigils, to creative projects such as plays, and lastly educational efforts were made to devote this day to teaching the curriculum at local schools. For event ideas for your community, click here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Just Save One Life...Just One."

"Just save one life...just one."  Deidri Fishel

That quote really struck me and stuck with me.

It is from the "Telling Amy's Story" Leadership Video that you can find at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo3ODIuLOJQ.  Detective Fishel is talking about what we can all do to make a difference in the lives of a domestic violence victim..ultimately perhaps saving a life.

Isn't it worth it? Saving a life?

And what if your workplace policies could make a difference?  I mean, more than what it would save you in productivity, in employee turnover, in absenteeism...more than the prevention of a potential workplace violence incident on your property? 

I can certainly convince you of all of those reasons...and the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence can provide you the resources and training and practices you need to help your workplace for all of those reasons. That is what we do.

What does saving a life mean to you? If you could do it through your workplace policies and programs...would you? Visit http://www.caepv.org  to learn more.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Resource for Employers Introduced During Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is pleased to partner with the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Office on Violence Against Women, Legal Momentum, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and its National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Resource Sharing Project of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, and Victim Rights Law Center in the creation of this new resource for employers:

This was among the initiatives introduced October 27, 2010 at the White House Domestic Violence Awareness Month Event which I was fortunate enough to attend.  (But that's a blog for another day!)

Check it out!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

What Are YOU Doing For Domestic Violence Awareness Month? (Or…Where Is All The Purple?)

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I realize it is also a month to recognize a lot of other really important 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 in the same way that 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.
A long time ago, no one talked about breast cancer -- they kept it a secret, and somehow it was a "shame" and was somehow the fault of the person who received the diagnosis. But fortunately that has changed, and we no longer blame breast cancer victims. We call them survivors. And we honor them for their amazing courage. 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 33 organizations and businesses in Central Illinois did on October 5 and asked people 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.
On October 5, some of those people wore purple.  One of them told me she wore purple and asked people if they knew why she was wearing that color. If they didn't, she started a conversation with them about it.  Isn't that great?
Spread the purple!!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

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 http://www.loveisnotabuse.com/made

2) Find out more about domestic violence. Go to http://www.clicktoempower.org/  and see the stories of survivors and what made the difference for them.

3) Go to http://www.etsy.com/listing/57724099/hotline-necklace or http://www.etsy.com/listing/57722070/hotline-earrings?ref=v1_other_2 and support the National Domestic Violence Hotline by purchasing these pieces by Sueanne Shirzay.

4) Learn about how domestic violence impacts your workplace by visiting http://www.caepv.org/.

5) Remember the National Domestic Violence Hotline Number: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or http://www.thehotline.org/. 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 www.verizonwireless.com/hopelinemailinglabel. Or if you are a Verizon Wireless customer text "HOPE" to 41010 to make a one time, $10 donation to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

7) Learn to talk to your kids about healthy relationships by downloading tip booklets from http://www.loveisnotabuse.com/.

8) Try to understand what happens in DV and how it impacts people. Check out http://www.domesticviolenceworkplace.blogspot.com/. 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.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Allstate Foundation's "Tell A Gal Pal" Raises Awareness Of Domestic Violence And Supports Survivors - and You Can Too!

Did you know that more than seven out of 10 Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, yet it still remains a taboo subject? A recent study found that only 54 percent of Americans have talked to a friend about domestic violence, and only 56 percent know how to help a victim.*

Professional dancer, Cheryl Burke of "Dancing with the Stars" and Judge Jeanine Pirro of the "Judge Pirro Show" are teaming up with The Allstate Foundation to encourage everyone to Tell a Gal Pal and break down the barriers as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October and beyond.

Download the Cheryl Burke and Judge Jeanine Pirro public service announcements and learn more about the campaign.

"Domestic violence can happen to anyone – it happened to me. I'm using my experience to let survivors know that they're not alone, it's not their fault, and be proof that you can survive – and most importantly thrive in a better future," said Cheryl Burke. "By telling a gal pal about domestic violence – we're educating one another on the issue to erase misconceptions and provide the right support to those in need."

Domestic violence is an issue that does not discriminate – it impacts all genders, races and ages. The Tell a Gal Pal movement asks everyone to face domestic violence together by:

• Talking openly about domestic violence to break the taboo. Tell your Gal Pals – whether it's your best friend, sister, mother, daughter, niece, cousin or neighbor – to face domestic violence by discussing the issue, educating one another and showing support for survivors.

• Visiting ClicktoEmpower.org for easy ways to start the conversation, learn more about the resources available for those in need or read inspirational survivor stories.

• Speaking out against domestic violence when you see it. Call the police or National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) to report domestic violence – you could help save a life.

• Volunteering at or donating items to a local domestic violence program. Contact your state domestic violence coalition for more information.

Tell a Gal Pal this year will feature another new gal pal, Judge Jeanine Pirro. Since her time as a prosecutor, Judge Pirro has been an advocate on behalf of domestic violence victims—on her television show, in her court room, and through her partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. She will bring her passion for fighting domestic violence to a Tell A Gal Pal public service announcement airing nationally this October.

"Everyone has a gal pal, a friend, a family member that they can speak to about this issue," said Jennifer Kuhn, Domestic Violence Program Manager with The Allstate Foundation. "By starting the conversation with our closest friends, we can put an end to the secrecy that too often shrouds domestic violence."

The Allstate Foundation is also encouraging Americans to join the conversation on Facebook to help support domestic violence survivors. For each person who visits the Click to Empower! Facebook page and pledges to Tell a Gal Pal about domestic violence, The Allstate Foundation will donate $1 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (up to $20,000).

The Allstate Foundation's Domestic Violence Program helps domestic violence survivors overcome economic challenges and lead financially independent lives, free from abuse. Through a partnership with the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the program provides a network of financial resources, including a comprehensive financial empowerment curriculum; funds direct services, including education and job training assistance; 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 http://www.clicktoempower.org/.

*Murphy Marketing Research, The Allstate Foundation: Crisis: Economics and Domestic Violence. June 2009.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

It's Time to Talk in Central Illinois on October 5 - Log On, Look Up, Speak Out

Did you know that 1 in 5 relationships now start online? 

On Tuesday, October 5, 2010, the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, Radio Bloomington and other community organizations throughout Central Illinois are co-sponsoring "It's Time to Talk Day" to bring awareness to the important issue of domestic violence. This year the theme is "It's Time to Talk: Dating Safety & Technology - Log On, Look Up, Speak Out."

Event topics will focus on the role technology now has in our dating relationships--for tweens and adults--including staying safe online, sexting, cyberstalking, and the legal issues surrounding these topics.

Local CAEPV members and community partners will participate in "It's Time to Talk Day" in the following ways:

Local governments, universities & colleges will issue proclamations of "It's Time to Talk Day" and encourage citizens to take a moment to talk about healthy and unhealthy relationships. 

A news conference to announce "It's Time to Talk Day" will be held at 8:00AM on October 5 at Young Main Lounge in Illinois Wesleyan University's Memorial Center. 

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence and the 11th Judicial Circuit Family Violence Coordinating Council are co-sponsoring a FREE conference at Young Main Lounge in Illinois Wesleyan University's Memorial Center. This conference, "Dating Safety & Technology - Log On, Look Up, Speak Out" will look at how various technologies play a role in our dating relationships--and what we can do to stay safe and keep our relationships healthy. 

Soroptimist of Bloomington-Normal is hosting a Lunch & Learn "I'm Your Mother, Not Your Friend....Except on Facebook" for parents at Lancaster's Fine Dining in Downtown Bloomington. 

Other "It's Time to Talk Day" projects and events include:

  •  Distributing educational materials in workplaces
  •  Distributing domestic violence awareness brochures to clients
  • Holding seminars for employees
  • Providing information to employees via the Internet and Intranet
  • Writing informational articles for employee newsletters
  •  Working with local schools to share the message about safety and wellness
  • Providing Public Service Announcements and radio interviews on Radio Bloomington stations
  • Viral text and Facebook messages promoting respectful texting
  • Electronic billboard messages
  •  AND MORE!

 You can learn more by clicking here.   

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why Is Domestic Violence "Everybody's Business"?

We recently posted a story on our Facebook page about a person who heard her neighbors having a heated argument "screaming at each other"...she had her window opened and listened to the whole dispute that night but never called 911.

Her neighbor was killed.  Her alleged murderer was her boyfriend and a man with a history of domestic violence.  The woman who did not call said "I feel bad now that I didn't call 911. I could have prevented this."

You can read the story here.

Let's be clear - only ONE person is responsible for the murder...the person who did it.

But what is our responsibility when we see something or hear something that concerns us?  What if we see bruises on a co-worker?  What if we hear a heated argument at a neighbor's house? What if we are concerned for a child we see in a grocery store? What is OUR responsibility?

Should we walk away?  Or should we call 911?  Or somehow reach out?

We know that in the workplace, it is in an employer's "enlightened self interest" to have policies and programs and resources for employees (batterers and victims) involved in domestic violence because it impacts the workplace in terms of absenteeism, workplace productivity, healthcare costs, turnover, and workplace safety.  You can learn more about that here.

But what about in the rest of life?  In the community?  Is it in YOUR "enlightened self-interest" to make domestic violence your business?

I would say yes.  For this simple reason.

You may change -- or save -- a life.

You can read more in this blog about how to talk to someone you care about and there are links on this blog to resources.  But at the end of the day, we all have a decision to make. Will I make this "my business" or not?

I hope you do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Phone Call I Don't Want To Get From You

Today I am sad. 

Why am I sad? Because we received another inquiry this morning from a company about addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue...because an employee had been killed in a murder-suicide by an intimate partner.

This is not how I want to do my job.  I want to help employers with resources and tools to address domestic violence as a workplace issue BEFORE a precious life is lost....not after.   And I know that no employer wants to make this call either....if they had known, or had any idea...they would have done something proactive and preventative at the workplace.  (Granted this is no guarantee that life will not be lost, but it can certainly do a lot to raise awareness and provide more resources and tools...and can help with the safety of the workplace.)

The difficulty is this...it is very hard for employers to "see" or understand that domestic violence might be impacting their particular workplaces....until it does.  We can share statistics and warning signs and sample policies and all of the information available on our website at www.caepv.org ...but if an employer does think that is likely to impact their workforce...they won't act.

It doesn't matter what "kind" of workforce you have - or what industry - you name it, domestic violence is impacting the workforce.   Banking, retail, human services, telecommunications, insurance, healthcare, faith community, education, manufacturing.....you name it, it is there. (If you think there is a place it is not, I would love to have that discussion with you.)

So please....take a moment to consider that:

  • 21% of full-time employed adults are victims of domestic violence
  • 64% of them say their work was significantly impacted by the abuse
  • The annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is estimated as $727.8 million with over 7.9 million paid workdays lost per year
  • Domestic violence coming to the workplace accounts for 24% of workplace violence incidents

You can find more statistical information at http://www.caepv.org/getinfo/facts_stats.php .

But please -- don't let one of your employees (or your workplace) be a statistic because you haven't considered what you can do proactively to address domestic violence at the workplace.

Because it can - and does -- happen anywhere. To anyone.  Including to people who work at places like yours.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Civil Protective Orders - Are They An Effective Tool in Domestic Violence Prevention?

Employers should be interested in this - a study from the National Institutes of Justice (NIJ Journal No. 299) titled "Perspectives on Civil Protective Orders in Domestic Violence Cases: The Rural and Urban Divide" found that civil protective orders can be an effective tool for domestic violence prevention.

This is important information in the discussion about the effectiveness of civil protective orders.  For example, I know people who work with domestic violence victims who tell them "don't even bother to get a protective order because it doesn't help at all."

This study found subtle jurisdictional differences influence how women experience civil protective orders.

It looked at the impact of civil protective orders for domestic violence victims in five Kentucky jurisdictions. Civil protective orders, sometimes known as restraining orders, may cover various situations, such as ordering an assailant to avoid a victim's home and workplace or forbidding any contact with the victim, including by mail or telephone.

Findings from the study suggest that orders make a difference in safety, fear levels and cost savings. Moreover, urban and rural populations reported significant differences in fear. Half of the women who received protective orders did not experience a violation within the following six months. For the half who did experience violations, the levels of violence and abuse declined significantly compared with the six months before the protective order was issued.

Urban and rural women had similar views of the protective orders' effectiveness. However, rural women found more barriers to getting an order and having it enforced, thus experiencing less relief from fear and abuse. The study also explored the role of stalking in protective order violations and quantified the overall cost to society.

For employers, there is also important information about stalking behavior in this study. In prior research, Logan found that about half of the victims who get protective orders are stalked. Overall, protective orders were less effective for stalking victims than for other victims. Specifically:
  • Women who were stalked by their violent partner before getting a protective order had a strong likelihood of protective order violations.
  • Women who were stalked after the protective order were more afraid of future harm, experienced more distress related to the abuse, and endured more violence and more property damage.
  • Women who were stalked after the protective order felt the order to be less effective compared with those who were not stalked.
  • Stalking after the protective order was associated with violence, suggesting those who stalk are more violent and more resistant to court intervention.
The previous study examined victims with no protective order violations, victims whose protective orders were violated, and victims with violations and stalking. Stalking victims experienced higher distress levels and more property loss, lost more sleep, and took more time off from work, contributing to higher societal costs.

Stalking victims were less likely than other women to report a protective order violation. They said they felt the complaint would not be taken seriously or they feared they did not have enough proof.

So what does that mean for the workplace?  An employer shouldn't assume that just because the workplace is listed on the civil protection order it is "safe." An employer with an employee who have a civil protection order would be wise to work with that employee to utilize workplace protections and accomodations to keep the victim and other employees safe. And this is especially the case where stalking is involved. 

To read the full summary and link to the full study, click here: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/journals/266/perspectives.htm

For resources to address domestic violence at the workplace, visit www.caepv.org.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Women More Likely to be Murdered at Work....by People Who Know Them

Unfortunately, the shocking lethality of the Emcore Building shooting spree in Albuquerque July 12 was a fairly typical workplace shooting, according to updated U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) workplace fatalities data

I know this is true -- I deal with it on a weekly basis when I receive telephone calls from heartbroken employers who've lost employees to violence.  Or when I work with employers working desperately trying to prevent violence from happening to an employee at the hands of a current or former partner as I have been this week. 
 While most - but not all - workplace homicides involve firearms and occur during robberies; men are more likely to be killed in robbery-related shootings.

But women are much more likely to be targeted when workplace shootings involve co-workers or other individuals who know the victims, BLS data show. Relatives and personal acquaintances are responsible for only 4 percent of workplace homicides of men, but represent 28 percent of women’s murders in the workplace.

And these relatives or personal acquaintances?  They are overwhelmingly a current or former partner of the victim.

The U.S. saw 30 mass workplace shootings in 2008, the most recent year for which complete BLS statistics are available, involving 67 homicides and seven suicides. On average, two people die in workplace shootings, the BLS reports.

Most, but not all, workplace homicides involve firearms; 80 percent of workplace killings involve a gun, BLS data show. Between 2004 and 2008, the U.S. saw an average of 564 workplace homicides each year. The 526 workplace homicides nationwide in 2008 represented 10 percent of all workplace fatalities.

Nationwide, the U.S. saw 421 fatal workplace shootings recorded in 2008, representing 8 percent of all workplace fatalities, according to BLS data.

Retail stores are the most frequent site of such violence, accounting for 24 percent of fatal shootings, followed by hotels, which represent 17 percent of fatal attacks, according to the BLS website. Government offices are the third most frequent setting for employee violence, with 14 percent of fatal attacks, according to the BLS.

Employees and former employees committed 12 percent of workplace shootings in 2008.

This is incredibly sad...because these facts don't represent the faces and the names of the precious people whose lives are lost...or their families.  But I hope the facts are helpful in understanding this isn't just "someone else's issue."  And that it can...and should..be prevented. 

For help information and resources for dealing with domestic violence as a workplace issue, please visit our website at www.caepv.org.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Click, Tweet, and Support Domestic Violence Survivors: The Allstate Foundation and YWCA join together to raise awareness of domestic violence


Helping domestic violence survivors just became as easy as sending a tweet to your friends and family. The Allstate Foundation and the national YWCA have joined together to help end domestic violence through the #Tweet4YWCA campaign.

Beginning July 7, The Allstate Foundation is donating $1 to the YWCA for every tweet that includes #Tweet4YWCA, up to $75,000. The tweet-a-thon will run from July 7-16.

Additionally, Allstate Foundation’s website, http://www.clicktoempower.org/ , will feature a leader board, live streaming tweets, and a real time calculator of how much has been donated during the campaign.

Allstate Foundation, @ClickToEmpower, and YWCA, @YWCAUSA, have a commitment to ending domestic violence and providing economic empowerment programs.


1. Send a tweet using the hashtag: #Tweet4YWCA.

2. Visit http://www.clicktoempower.org/  to see how close we are to reaching the $75,000 goal.

3. Follow @ClickToEmpower and @YWCAUSA to get updates about the campaign.

What you can do to help?

• Tweet, retweet, and tweet some more! Every #Tweet4YWCA earns one more dollar toward the $75,000 goal.

• Post a #Tweet4YWCA button or banner on your website and Facebook page (see below).

• Need more inspiration to #Tweet4YWCA? Watch and share the empowering videos on the domestic violence playlist at www.youtube.com/allstatenews.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Domestic Violence Risk - How Safe Are You?

Yesterday I read a news story about a family found dead in their home.  Details were not being released, but I could tell by the way it was written that it was probably a murder by a domestic partner.

Today I read three other similar stories.  One where the neighbors said "police never came to their house."

Sometimes police are never called. 

But when they are, law enforcement authorities are increasingly turning to lists of questions  or "risk assessments" to assess the danger and risks associated with homicides of both batterers and their victims.

Here is an example of questions law enforcement personnel in Raleigh, NC are using. The 14 questions cover violent tendencies, weapons, threats and what a victim is thinking to help determine whether he or she is at a high risk of being killed by a spouse or significant other:

1. Has the physical violence increased in frequency over the past six months or year?

2. Has the physical violence increased in severity over the past six months or year, or have threats been made with a weapon?

3. Does your partner ever try to choke you?

4. Is there a gun in the house?

5. Does your partner threaten to kill you, or do you believe he or she is capable of killing you?

6. Is your partner drunk or high every day or almost every day?

7. Does your partner control most or all of your daily activities (e.g., telling you whom you can be friends with or how much money you can spend)?

8. Has your partner ever beaten you while you were pregnant?

9. Is your partner violently and consistently jealous of you (e.g., he or she says, "If I can't have you, no one can.")?

10. Have you ever thought about, threatened or attempted to commit suicide?

11. Is your partner violent outside the home?

12. Do you plan to leave? Do you have a safety plan in place (i.e., where you will go, a suitcase with extra clothes, keys, important documents, medications, etc.)?

13. What do you think will happen between you and your partner in the near future?

14. Are you expecting a violent attack?

If a person answers yes to three or more questions, they are at a higher risk for death.

If you are reading this, and you are concerned for yourself, or if you are reading this, and you are concerned for someone you care about, please don't wait.  Please reach out.  Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). 

Please don't be named in an article in the newspaper as someone we lost because of domestic violence.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


What a totally cool idea! I love this!

CAEPV Members Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation, in conjunction with the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), recently announced the launch of the Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant Program, which will provide grants to domestic violence survivors to help them successfully develop small businesses.

Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation are donating a total of $45,000 to fund the grant program. One-time grants will range from $500 to $2,500 per applicant and can be used to make a down payment on a work space, purchase a computer or other office equipment, purchase initial product inventory, as collateral to support the receipt of a small business loan, pay for child care or transportation necessary to complete entrepreneurship classes, or other start-up costs.

Knowing of Verizon's strong support of domestic violence survivors through its HopeLine initiative and other grant-making activities, OPDV Executive Director Amy Barasch approached the company with the idea for the scholarships, and Verizon put the idea into action. The grant program is based on the premise that domestic violence survivors, through their past experience and the coping and problem-solving skills they developed to escape the cycle of violence, are uniquely prepared to step into an entrepreneurial role.

Applicants will be required to submit a business plan, and be enrolled in, or have completed an entrepreneurship assistance program, many of which are offered across the state through local chambers of commerce or schools and universities. New York State's Empire State Development funds a network of entrepreneurship assistance programs across New York.

The partnership between entrepreneurship programs and domestic violence programs makes a great deal of sense: in 2007-08, 60 percent of the state-supported entrepreneurship program graduates were female, and the programs overall resulted in significant increased sales, employee retention, and new jobs. In addition, many existing entrepreneurship programs have graduated domestic violence survivors, even though the programs may not know that fact.

In New York State, 87 percent of all business enterprises have four employees or less, illustrating that entrepreneurs and small business owners play a significant role in the state's economy and will be a key force in the state's economic recovery. In addition, the successful development of a small business can bring survivors increased control over their working lives, create important financial and social opportunities for them, and help ensure their long-term safety and stability, according to Barasch.

Interested individuals can obtain a grant application through their local domestic violence organization – visit http://nyscadv.org/directory.htm for a complete list of programs in New York State – or by sending an e-mail to hopelinesmallbiz@verizonwireless.com . 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is A Little Knowledge A Dangerous Thing?

The expertise of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is in the area of addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue.  We take this very seriously.  After all, helping employers thinking through how best to implement policies and programs regarding domestic violence is serious business.  This cannot be done halfway.

I recently saw an "expert" interviewed about domestic violence and the workplace who suggested that one way workplaces could keep victims safe would be to have them work AT HOME

This is probably one of the least safe things a person could ever recommend. While it is true that an abuser can  find a victim at a physical workplace, the abuser can most certainly always find a victim at home, and at home, the victim is alone and vulnerable and does not necessarily have all the workplace supports and mechanisms and physical barriers available that one does at a physical workplace (which is one of the reasons telecommuting must be planfully considered when addressing domestic violence and safety for employees.  But that is a topic for another blogpost).

I am not sure if this "expert" was not thinking, if he/she was misquoted, or if the person is really not an expert at all.  After all, a little knowledge -- when dealing with domestic violence as a workplace issue -- is a dangerous thing.

I shudder to think of this piece of misinformation being requoted as "good advice" or read by an employer who, without any other outside input, uses this piece of information, thinking it would be "safer for an employee to work at home" than at the workplace.

When addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue, it is not enough to have good intentions, it is not enough to care about domestic violence.  One has to be able to understand a workplace and how to best keep it safe.

There is a system of Three R’s that we recommend to workplaces wishing to address domestic violence as a workplace issue (and this information is available on our website at http://www.caepv.org  in our Six Steps to Creating a Workplace Program document.)

Recognize – Recognize that domestic violence has an impact on your workplace and learn how to see potential signs in your employees or co-workers

Respond – Responding at work should always be in the context of behavior and performance. The goal is not to violate an employee’s privacy, but rather be able to say (for example) “You are a valued team member. There have been changes in your performance and you are missing your target goals and seem more distracted than usual. Is there anything going on that I can help you with?” The employee may not share anything, in which case you can remind him or her of the resources available and remind the employee that your door is always open. And if the employee does share, you can move to the next “R” – Refer.

Responding to someone outside the workplace is a bit different. For help with that, check out one of my blog posts about approaching someone you care about if you are concerned they may not be in a safe relationship.

Refer – Refer the employee to the resources within the workplace (such as EAP, HR, etc) that can assist them and also refer the employee to the community resources that can provide help.

There is actually a fourth “R” if a workplace gets really good - Reach Out. Partner with the community and other employers.

This is a very brief overview of steps an employer can take to address domestic violence as a workplace issue - and our website is full of resources and information to assist.  More information is available on our website at http://www.caepv.org/ as well as in the article mentioned above. 

It is our hope that employers and victims are given the information that increases safety. We don't want a little knowledge to be a dangerous thing for anyone.

Monday, May 17, 2010

CDC Releases Surveillance for Violent Deaths - What Can We Learn?

A new CDC report — Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2007 — summarizes data on 15,882 fatal incidents involving 16,319 deaths in 16 NVDRS states for 2007.

The majority (56.6%) of deaths were suicides, followed by homicides and deaths involving legal intervention (28.0%), deaths of undetermined intent (14.7%), and unintentional firearm deaths (0.7%). NVDRS provides a comprehensive picture of violent death by combining once fragmented pieces of information from:

• death certificates
• coroner/medical examiner report
• toxicology results
• law enforcement reports, and
• other reports related to each death.

While all of the information in the report is important, of special note are the following pieces of information for those addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue:

Intimate-Partner Homicide

• The 16 NVDRS states included in this report collected data concerning 562 incidents comprising 612 deaths of intimate-partner--related homicides that occurred during 2007.

• Of 612 homicide victims, 394 (64.4%) were female.

• Of 580 suspects, 451 (77.8%) were male.

• The highest percentages of victims and suspects (26.1% and 23.5%, respectively) were persons aged 35-44 years.

• The highest percentage (37.8%) of victims were married at the time of death.

Homicide Followed by Suicide

• The 16 NVDRS states included in this report collected data concerning 172 violent incidents that occurred during 2007 in which a homicide was followed by the suicide of the suspect.

• Of 240 homicide decedents, 174 (72.5%) were female.

• 160 (93.0%) suspects (suicide decedents) were male.

• The highest percentages of both homicide and suicide decedents were aged 35-54 years (31.7% and 49.4%, respectively).

• The majority of homicide decedents and suspects (34.7% and 32.4%, respectively) were married at the time of death (not necessarily to each other).

• 75.4% of the homicides occurred in a house or apartment and 2.1% each in a street/highway or commercial/retail area.

• Firearms were the most common (approximately 80%) method used by suspects both in committing the homicide and in subsequently killing themselves.

• Although 8.3% of persons who killed themselves following a homicide had a current depressed mood, only 3.6% were receiving mental-health treatment at the time of the fatal incident.

• Intimate-partner-relationship problems preceded homicide followed by suicide in 81.0% of suspected suicides.

• Of suspects who killed themselves, 91.1% had had a personal crisis within the preceding 2 weeks.

• Previous criminal legal problems were noted in 19.1% of suspected suicides and noncriminal problems in 3.0%; physical health or financial problems were contributing circumstances in 6.6% and 4.2% of suspected suicides, respectively; 6.0% of suicide decedents had disclosed their intent to kill themselves; and 1.8% had a history of suicide attempts.

So what does this tell us? Here is some of what we see:

When we look at homicides and domestic violence, victims are most likely female, perpetrators are most likely male, victims and suspects are in the age range of 35-44 years of age, and are more likely to be married.

In homicide-suicide, victims are overwhelmingly female, perpetrators/suicide decedents are overwhelmingly male, firearms are most likely to be used and intimate partner violence is overwhelmingly involved, the parties are most likely married, and the perpetrator/suicide decedent has experienced a personal crisis in the past two weeks. 

For a workplace this means some important things about assessing the risk for our employees involved in intimate partner violence. While these factors are not necessarily predictive, they are instructive.  They show us we should overwhelmingly understand that risk factors should be taken seriously and workplace safety assessments are important.  And not necessarily because there are a high percentage of these cases that take place at work (commercial or retail area was 2.1%)...but because when our employees' situations fal in line with these indicators, are employees are potentially in more danger.  And this is the case whether our employee is the potential victim, the potential perpetrator or the potential perpetrator/suicide decedent. 

For resources to assist you with your workplace program to keep employees safe, visit http://www.caepv.org/.  

NOTE:  While many argue that women are as violent as men in domestic violence relationships, this CDC information on violent deaths clearly indicates that when it comes to domestic violence and homicide and homicide-suicide, women are the majority of the victims (64% in cases of homicide and 72.5% in cases of homicide-suicide).

Thursday, May 06, 2010

All the Trainings in the World....Didn't Save Yeardley Love

I have been doing a lot of training stuff lately...creating trainings...consulting on trainings for other organizations...taping web-based trainings for one of our CAEPV member companies...

And in the midst of this in just the past few days, Yeardley Love has died in what appears to be an incident related to leaving an abusive relationship at the University of Virginia and a woman was killed at a Duke University Health Services clinic by a man with whom she had just ended a relationship.

And it got me thinking....while it is SO important to create workplace policies and programs to address domestic violence and to keep victims safe at work and to keep workplaces safe...it is also SO important to make sure that co-workers and friends understand the signs of unhealthy and abusive relationships and what to do if they are concerned that someone they care about may be unsafe.

Because -- let's face it -- many people never come to our trainings, our workshops, our presentations.  Many people will never talk to their managers or their supervisors about the abuse going on their lives.

But they may talk to their friends or family members. Or friends or family members may be the people who first notice the unhealthy signs...and need to know what to do or what to say.

Don't get me wrong - trainings are vital and important. But we have to make sure we find ways to "go to the mountain" instead of expecting the "mountain" is going to come to us to find this information.

I am so grateful I spent a large part of my day yesterday on a streaming video training for one of our CAEPV member companies that was specifically geared toward friends and co-workers...giving them suggestions on what to look for, what to say, and how to care.

And also helping them understand that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when the person is leaving or has left the relationship -- like Yeardley Love.

These trainings can be streamed and viewed privately in a person's office-- when a person thinks he or she needs to view them.

Will that help?  I hope so.

Will I keep telling anyone who will listen?  You bet.

And by the way, here's my suggestion for how to talk with someone if you are concerned -- 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 are taking good care of one another, 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 http://www.thehotline.org/.  Or for teens, check out the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline -- on the web at http://www.loveisrespect.org/ 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!)

So I will always keep on training at the workplace for managers and supervisors because that is really important.  If you want help with that, you can check out our website at http://www.caepv.org/
But I will always remember that it isn't trainings that help change or save a life.  It's people.

UPDATE:  Since I originally wrote this blogpost, another young woman was killed this week at the workplace as the result of domestic violence.  http://www.suntimes.com/news/24-7/2247318,old-navy-shots-fired-chicago-050710.article

Friday, April 23, 2010

Telling Amy's Story - Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence

Telling Amy's Story follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in central Pennsylvania on November 8, 2001.  Amy's parents, co-workers, law enforcement officers, and court personnel share their perspectives on what happened to Amy in the weeks, months, and years leading up to her death.

Amy was a Verizon Wireless employee, and the Verizon Foundation is a sponsor of this documentary. I think it is a wonderful tribute to her that they are honoring her memory in this way, and finding a way to reach others to share that domestic violence is, indeed "Everybody's Business."

And while the documentary cannot change the ending to Amy's story, it is the hope of those involved in making the documentary and the accompanying toolkit that telling her story can change the outcomes for the millions of victims, survivors, and loved ones affected by domestic violence everyday.

You can help in the fight to end domestic violence. SHARE this film, DISCUSS it with others, and REFER those in need to the film’s companion online toolkit at http://telling.psu.edu.  If you need to know how to create a program to help create a safer workplace for employees like Amy, visit our website at http://www.caepv.org.

To find out more about Telling Amy's Story, visit http://www.facebook.com/tellingamysstory.  You can view the trailer at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pt0qoqFV6g. The documentary will be available on Public Broadcasting Stations beginning June 1, 2010.

I hope you will share and learn.  And I hope you will also tell Amy's story.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fairness. Dignity. Respect.

April 18 through 24 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2010 in the United States.  The theme for this year's National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW)  is Crime Victims’ Rights: Fairness. Dignity. Respect. Visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/ncvrw/welcome.html  to learn more.

Since April is Child Abuse Awareness Month as well as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it seems appropriate to pause and think about these these issues in terms of crimes...and how not very long ago they were not considered crimes at all in the US.  And in many countries they are not crimes at all.

Fairness. Dignity. Respect. I recently had a humbling and life-changing opportunity to meet people from 15 different countries doing amazing work to give fairness, dignity and respect and rights to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking across the world.  The work these people do is amazing. The obstacles they overcome are daunting. Not only do they lack resources and support for the work they do...their very lives are threatened when they do it.

I was honored to be in the same room as these heroes -- and to hear from them and learn from them what it means to give dignity and respect to people in the most dire of circumstances.  (Learn more here: http://vitalvoices.org/human-rights/announcing-global-partnership-end-violence-against-women)

Fairness. Dignity. Respect.  We should strive for these in our workplaces...in our homes...in our communities.  And when it does not exist for others, let us work to make a world where it does.

Thank you to all of you who do so on a daily basis.

Thank you to you who create workplaces that help victims of violence, workplaces that don't tolerate bullying, workplaces that uplift employees and their gifts and abilities so that your workplaces are actually more productive and viable.

Thank you to you who are parents who create healthy and loving homes for your children.  Or as educators or caretakers you create healthy and safe environments for young people.

Thank you to you who work "in the field" to give a voice to those who don't have one...or who cannot speak for themselves.

During National Crime Victims' Rights Week and beyond let us always consider Fairness. Dignity. Respect. -- not only for victims of crime.. but for everyone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Teen Dating Violence State Law Report Cards Released - How Did Your State Do?

Break the Cycle (www.breakthecycle.org ) the nation’s leading dating abuse prevention organization, recently released its 2010 State Law Report Cards: A National Survey of Teen Dating Violence Laws, which grade how well states protect minors from abusive relationships.

The 2010 Report Cards are expanded to include information about school-based response to dating abuse as well as accessibility of other related services for teens. Each state’s report card also includes specific policy recommendations to help guide on-the-ground efforts to improve these laws.

This year, Break the Cycle updated the grading system with assistance from researchers at the University of Minnesota. Among others, some of the criteria used in grading included: can minors receive protection orders; do dating relationships qualify under the law; and, do same sex couples have access to legal protections? Break the Cycle received pro bono support from independent law firm Latham and Watkins, LLP to compile the 2009 state law statutes.

Sample of Key Findings:

• New Hampshire (A) receives the highest score because it is the only state which allows minors of any age to petition for protection orders without parental involvement.

• Arizona (B) and the District of Columbia (A) improved their laws since last year’s report. Arizona now allows people to qualify for protection orders if they are in a dating relationship with their abuser. In DC, teens as young as 12 can now petition for protection orders without parental notification.

• Ohio receives an F in the 2010 Report, but Governor Ted Strickland recently signed into law a bill mandating violence prevention education in schools and clarifying the state’s restraining order statutes, allowing minors and people in dating relationships to legally protect themselves. Changes take effect later this year and will be reflected in the 2011 Report.

• Pennsylvania (D) is considering a bill mandating violence prevention education in schools. Though not a factor in the 2010 grades, this statute could work in their favor for the 2011 report.

• Kentucky (F) has pending legislation, House Bill 30, that would allow victims of abuse in dating relationships to access protection orders. If the bill passes, Kentucky’s grade could rise to a B, based on Break the Cycle’s current metrics.

2010 State Law Report Cards Grades

• Only six states and the District of Columbia (14%) receive A’s – CA, IL, NH, OK, RI and WA

• Fifteen states (29%) receive B’s – AK, AZ, DE, FL, IN, ME, MA, MN, MS, NJ, NM, NY, TN, VT and WV

• Sixteen states (31%) receive C’s – AR, CO, CT, HI, ID, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MT, NE, NV, NC, TX and WY

• Four states (8%) receive D’s – ND, PA, OR and WI

• Nine states (18%) receive F’s – AL, GA, KY, MO, OH, SC, SD, UT and VA

 For more information and to download a complete copy of the 2010 Teen Dating Violence State Report Cards, please visit www.breakthecycle.org.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Here's a really easy way to help the environment...and victims of domestic violence.

CAEPV Member Verizon Wireless joins the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cell phone manufacturers and other retailers in the second annual Plug-In To eCycling National Cell Phone Recycling Week. This year's activities take place from April 5-11, and Verizon Wireless encourages consumers to visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store or to use a free mailing label available at http://aboutus.vzw.com/communityservice/HopeLineLabel.pdf  to recycle their old wireless phones, batteries and accessories throughout the week.

All phone donations to Verizon Wireless support HopeLine®, the company's long-running phone recycling and reuse program that benefits victims of domestic violence and supports prevention and awareness efforts. Last April, consumers donated more than 90,000 wireless phones to HopeLine, becoming an important part of Verizon Wireless' ability to recycle more than 1 million phones through this program for the third consecutive year.

Phones given to HopeLine will be refurbished for reuse or will be disposed of in an environmentally sound way under a zero landfill policy. Thousands of the refurbished phones are distributed to domestic violence shelters to be used by victims and survivors as they create safety plans and rebuild their lives.

Since 2001, through HopeLine's efforts, more than 7 million phones have been collected and kept out of landfills, and more than 1.6 million no-longer-used wireless phones have been disposed of in an environmentally sound way. Additional proceeds from HopeLine provide financial support to non-profit domestic violence advocacy agencies across the country. To learn more about Hopeline, visit http://aboutus.vzw.com/communityservice/hopeLine.html.  

Plug-In To eCycling's National Cell Phone Recycling Week 2010 is a joint effort with leading cell phone manufacturers, service providers and retailers to increase the awareness and recycling rates for cell phones. Plug-In To eCycling encourages Americans nationwide to donate or recycle their unwanted cell phones during the week of April 5-11, 2010. For additional information and to find cell phone recycling locations near you, please visit: www.epa.gov/cellphones.