Employers learn domestic violence clues
April 2, 2004
The Purple Ribbon Coalition sponsored a workshop Wednesday at the CVIC Hall in Minden to discuss the effects of domestic violence in the workplace.
The opening prayer was offered by Father Jorge Herrera, who recited the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Sheriff Ron Pierini briefly discussed disgruntled employees and the need for better security before introducing ombudsman for the office of the Attorney General Lori Fralick and Veronica Frenkel of the Corporate Citizen’s Initiative, a group that helps train employees to recognize the warning signs of domestic violence in the workplace, also spoke at the event as the guest and keynote speakers.
“This is a tribute to Douglas County employers who took the time to attend this event,” said Frenkel, the keynote speaker.
“It’s important because it involves the entire community, and they are a part of the solution,” guest speaker Lori Fralick said. “Douglas County is a model for the state.”
Fralick, a victim of an abusive relationship, spoke of “the need to teach our kids about healthy relationships and the need to teach them about warning signs and red flags” and to forgive themselves for being victimized.
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Warning signs include changes in behavior and work performance, lack of concentration, increased or unexplained absence, placing or receiving harassing phone calls, bruises or injuries that are unexplained or have explanations that “just don’t add up.”
Frenkel also mentioned that it was her feeling that “she was preaching to the choir.”
Included in the program were questions such as “are employees trained to recognize the warning signs of domestic violence,” and “do they know how to protect their employees in the workplace,” and also included the following facts:
n 85 percent of incidents of workplace violence have very clear warning signs
n 80 percent of women killed at work are killed by someone they know
n 27 percent of people killed at work are killed due to Domestic Violence
n 96 percent of employed domestic violence victims experience problems at work with their abuser.
According to literature provided by the Family Support Council, in one year alone, almost four million American women are physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends, and 3-5 million women and children are primary victims of family violence – and added that wife-beating is the most underreported crime in the country with the actual incidences estimated to be 10 times higher than the reported incidences.
60 percent of high school students are in an abusive relationship before graduation, a group that Fralick wants to continue to work with in Douglas County.
A film was shown by Frenkel that showed how in one example of domestic violence in the workplace, an abuser called repeatedly and threatened the victim.
In another instance, described by Frenkel, a stalker intimidated his victim by following her to work every morning and “staring at her as she walked into the building.”
In closing, Pierini introduced Connie Richardson, the domestic violence coordinator for the sheriff’s office to the audience.
Richardson worked as a reserve deputy for 14 years, and now tracks domestic violence cases.
The mission statement of the coalition, which is a combined effort involving Kiwanis, Rotary, Soroptimist International, Sertoma, 20-30 clubs, as well as the Court Appointed Special Advocates group and the Family Support Council is “to stop the cycle of domestic violence by raising community awareness as to the consequences of abuse within the family.”