The workplace has the potential to not only change lives but to save them. Two crucial components for someone living in or escaping from an abusive relationship is community and financial stability. Employers can offer both of these.
The workplace is a community.
The people we work with become our extended community, a constant in our lives. This is so valuable when living with domestic violence. Abusers often isolate their partners from family and friends.
They have many ways to do this:
- Outright refusal to let their partner see family and friends
- Undermining these relationships, covertly or overtly.
- Limited freedom of movement.
- Being rude making visitors feel unwelcome.
- Jealous and controlling behaviour.
- Demands partner is loyal to them only.
- Refusal to allow partner to attend sport, social or religious groups.
This slow distancing of family, friends and other support networks is confusing and bewildering. Often the family and friends are blamed for being controlling and trying to break up the relationship.
Offering a safe space.
When you are in the midst of an abusive it is hard to work out who is on your side. It gets to the stage where you can’t trust your own mind.
This is where the workplace is so important. Because often colleagues are the only constant. It is a safe place. When someone is ready to reach out for help, the workplace is often the only support network left to the person impacted.
A workplace that not only offers support but have created a culture of empathy and understanding create an environment where it is disclosure is safe.
This safety to disclose means employees impacted are reaching out for help. This means they will be able to maintain their employment which may otherwise have been in jeopardy.
The financial security which comes along with career security is often the difference between someone leaving an abusive relationship or staying trapped.
As more workplaces engage in domestic violence policies and trainings the more those in abusive relationships will be in a position to make decision from a position empowerment rather than desperation.
The importance of this cannot be underestimated.