Thursday, July 28, 2011

CAEPV Presents HopeLine® from Verizon Webinar Series

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 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.

Domestic violence does not stop at the door when employees go to work. The CAEPV HopeLine® from Verizon Webinar Series is designed to help increase employer awareness of domestic violence as a workplace issue and offer strategies for employers to recognize and respond to it.

Mark your calendar for our first  CAEPV HopeLine® from Verizon Webinar: “Domestic Violence and the Workplace - Three Case Studies in Practice” taking place September 23, 2011. This webinar will examine current practices of employers addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue from three unique perspectives. Presenters include representatives from Liz Claiborne Inc., Kaiser Permanente, and Prudential. 

The webinar is FREE – but CAEPV members will receive priority registration.  Look for details coming soon!

What is the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence?

e Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is a leading force in the fight against intimate partner violence and its effects on the workplace. 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.

The Alliance offers extensive research, policy knowledge and issue expertise to the business community, including training, program guidance, and crisis consultation – with programs designed to make the workplace safe and to prevent intimate partner violence from impacting the workplace. CAEPV has member and associate organizations reaching employees across the US and around the world. For more information, visit  

What is HopeLine®?

HopeLine® from Verizon puts the nation’s most reliable network to work in the community by turning no-longer used cell phones into support for domestic violence victims and survivors. Learn more.

For more information, contact

Monday, July 25, 2011

Employing Survivors of Domestic Violence - Ending the Cycle

In this blog I usually focus on how domestic violence impacts the workplace and how employers can respond to keep employees and the workplace safe.

But what if work itself is a protective factor for survivors of domestic violence and their children? 

Recent research indicates it may well be.

Work is among the protective factors that foster resilience and increase the likelihood that the cycle of violence will end for women who, as children, were exposed to their mothers’ battering.

Dr. Kim Anderson, associate professor in the MU School of Social Work, found that women are less likely to suffer from PTSD if they are more resilient, or better able to overcome adversity.

Anderson found that resiliency was enhanced if mothers were employed full-time — that is, gainful employment has a positive influence on their children’s recovery from witnessing domestic violence.

“Mothers who work full-time, even in adverse situations, create economic stability and model a strong work ethic, independence and competence,” Anderson said.

“This shows the importance of the bond between mothers and children and the importance of positive adult role models in the lives of children who have experienced abuse.”

Researchers discovered the chance of PTSD in adulthood is increased if a child had witnessed the abuse of their mother; among children whose mothers experienced mental problems; and in children who witnessed police involvement in violent incidents. In particular, children of mothers who had mental health problems were more likely to develop PTSD later in life, as were children who witnessed the arrest of family members during violent incidents.

“The mental health status of mothers affects how they recover from abuse and their parenting style,” Anderson said. “Children whose mothers do not experience mental health problems are less likely to have mental health problems of their own.”

Anderson says recent financial cuts in domestic violence services and advocacy programs have made it difficult to provide abused women with the resources they need to recover from violent incidents. She recommends advanced job training and opportunities for higher education to help abused women attain sustainable employment.

“Most of the time, the immediate goal is to find women work rather than help them acquire skills that fit their interests,” Anderson said. “Those jobs are often low-paying and don’t provide the economic sustainability that going back to school and getting a higher education would.” (Source: University of Missouri)

So employing survivors of domestic violence does more than provide them a way up and out -- it may very well end the cycle of violence in the lives of their children.

Thank you to the employers who are members of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) and the many other employers committed to making domestic violence "their business" and by doing so keep their workplaces safe, keep their employees safe and productive....and perhaps help end the cycle for the next generation.

You certain can "do well by doing good."

(For resources to address domestic violence as a workplace issue, visit our website at

Friday, July 15, 2011

When Does Abuse Start?

I recently had someone ask me if abuse starts the first time a person gets hit.

I appreciated the person asking me that question, and I also thought it might be good to highlight some of the warning signs of abusive relationships. It is also important to point out that relationships can be abusive and a person can never get hit at all. 

So what IS domestic violence?  Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

This quiz "Am I Being Abused?" is from the website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline - which is full of great information and resources.

Does your partner:

  • Embarrass you with put-downs?
  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
  • Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?
  • Force you to try and drop charges?
  • Threaten to commit suicide?
  • Threaten to kill you?


If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions,
you may be in an abusive relationship.

For support and more information please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or at TTY 1-800-787-3224.  You can also visit their website at

And remember - no question is silly or "not worth asking" when it comes to healthy and unhealthy relationships....if you wonder, please ask someone you trust. 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

It's Only Puppy Love...Or Is It?

“You’ll get over it…after all, it’s only puppy love.”
I can remember an adult saying that to me when my high school-to-college boyfriend and I broke up on Valentine’s Day my freshman year of college.

It sure didn’t  feel like puppy love to me.  But we both got over it.
Some young people don’t get over break ups…they don’t think they can live without their boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Apparently this is what happened to a young lady with a full life ahead of her named Lauren Astley.  Allegedly her ex-boyfriend, Nathaniel Fujita, thought he could not live without her and killed her. You can read more about the murder here.
My heart breaks for the family of Lauren Atley.
Did you know the most dangerous time for victims of domestic violence is when they are leaving or having left a relationship?  In cases where a person is murdered in such a relationship, 75% of the time it is when they are leaving or have left their abusive partner.

So – before you tell your daughter or son “it is only puppy love” please consider this:
In a Liz Claiborne Survey released in March 2006, half (50%) of the 1,004 teens surveyed reported they’ve been in a dating relationship and nearly a third (32%) said they’ve been in a serious relationship. This same survey found that:

·    One in four teens (24%) reported feeling pressure to date; and 14% said they would do almost anything to keep a boyfriend or girlfriend.
·    In the same survey, 20% of teenagers who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.
·    A significant number of teens (14%) said they have been threatened with physical harm—either to them or self-inflicted by their partner—to avoid a breakup.
·    One out of 10 of these teens have been threatened with the spread of rumors by their partner as a means of control.
·    A shocking 7% said someone in a relationship has either threatened to kill them or commit suicide in an attempt to stay together.

How do you know if you should worry?

A common characteristic of unhealthy and abusive relationships is the control that the abusive partner seeks to maintain in the relationship. This includes telling someone what to wear, where they can go, who they can hang out with, calling them names, humiliating them in front of others.

Over time, the isolation from a person’s social network increases, as the abuser insists on spending time "just the two of us," and threatens to leave or cause harm if things do not go the way they want, "You must not love me." Creating this isolation and dissolution of one's social supports (loss of friends, disconnectedness from family) are hallmarks of controlling behaviors.

In addition, abusers often monitor cell phones and emails, and for example, may threaten harm if the response to a text message is not instant. Parents are rarely aware of such controlling tactics as these occur insidiously over time, and an adolescent may themselves not recognize the controlling, possessive behaviors as unhealthy. "They must love me because they just want to spend time with me."

While the following non-specific warning signs could indicate other concerning things such as depression or drug use, these should also raise a red flag for parents and adult caregivers about the possibility of an unhealthy relationship:
·         no longer hanging out with his/her circle of friends
·         wearing the same clothing
·         distracted when spoken to
·         constantly checking cell phone,
         gets extremely upset when asked to turn phone off
·         withdrawn, quieter than usual
·         angry, irritable when asked how they are doing
·         making excuses for their boyfriend/girlfriend
·         showering immediately after getting home
·         unexplained scratches or bruises

Maybe the best advice for parents is to start talking about what constitutes a healthy, respectful relationship early on with your child.

Sharing the warning signs of teen dating abuse with your child and saying, "If you know someone who's experiencing something like this, let's talk about it, let's talk about how you can be a good friend and help them stay safe."

For great booklets on talking to your teens about dating relationships visit Liz Claiborne’s Love Is Not Abuse website at

So, next time you are tempted to say "Oh, it is just puppy love, you'll get over it," maybe you'll say "Hey, let's talk about it." And that may lead to a really good talk about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"It Can't Happen Here." (Until It Does)

"Aside from your family, who do you spend the majority of your time with?" 

If I asked you that question, many of you would probably say your co-workers. I know it is true here at CAEPV - we certainly spend a great deal of time together and know one another well. 

Apparently Jermey "Billy" Davis and and Andre Johnson knew each other well, too. They worked together for years at LG & E. Mr. Johnson was Mr. Davis' supervisor.

"We're a family of employees, we really are," said LG&E spokesman Chip Keeling. "Everyone knows everyone that works in these areas, and they do a lot of things together outside the office, so this is a terrible tragedy."

What happened?  Apparently the men had a dispute that lasted more than a year. And on July 5, Mr. Davis came into this "family of employees" and did the unthinkable - he killed Mr. Johnson and then killed himself.

You can read more on the story here.  I am sure much more will develop as the investigators learn more and as the days move forward.

I am so sorry for all involved - and for all those who are devastasted at home and at work. Their lives will never be the same. My heart goes out to everyone.

I am not here to speculate on what LG & E could or should have done - or what they did right or wrong -- because I do not know that. 

I do know this - whenever I am asked "What is the most dangerous position for any employer to be in regarding workplace violence?"  My answer is this:

The most dangerous position for an employer to be in regarding workplace violence is the position that "It can't happen here." 

Because as long as an employer takes that position....the workplace is vulnerable and is not considering steps to prevent a situation like what happened at LG & E.

Often employers think:
  • Workplace violence only happens at big companies.
  • I know everyone here, and no one here would do anything like that.
  • We screen employees before we hire, so we are safe.
  • We lock non-employees out, and they are the only people we have to worry about.
  • Workplace violence is a lot of hype.
  • Preventing workplace violence is expensive and we can't afford it.

Fortunately (and unfortunately) none of the above are true.  Employers can do simple things like:

  • Making sure they have a policy to address workplace violence
  • Creating a culture of workplace safety and respect - from hiring through orientation, performance management, dismissal or employee exit
  • Addressing physical plant issues with an eye for safety
  • Training employees to notice and report safety concerns  - including concerns about concerning behavior in co-workers
  • Management acting in a timely and respectful manner when concerns are reported
  • Providing resources for employees who need help
  • Never assuming they know "who" is or is not capable of workplace violence

I am amazed that employers who say they are "too small" to address workplace violence have plans for a possible terrorist attack.  And while I hope they see neither, I would argue they are more likely to see an event of workplace violence.

But once an employer begins to think "Ok, workplace violence COULD happen here. So - how can we address it?"  then the workplace begins to be in a position to possibly prevent a situation like the one at LG+E. Before it becomes explosive.  Or heartbreaking. Or deadly.

For information or resources (including a sample policy), please visit our website at