Domestic Violence: Can work be safe when home isn’t?

More than one out of three women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime (37.6%), and 7% are currently victims of domestic violence, according to a survey by the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC).

The 2013 survey was developed by the CREVAWC in collaboration with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). In total, 8,429 people completed the survey of over 60 questions. This is a huge response rate, and the results are considered to be highly credible.

According to the survey, men also experience this type of violence, but to a lesser degree. Aboriginal workers, persons with a disability and GLBT folks experience the highest rates of victimization.

Not surprisingly, domestic violence negatively affects a person’s work performance. Overall, 81.9% of domestic violence victims reported feeling distracted, tired or unwell.

In over half of all domestic violence cases (53.5%), the violence is not confined to the home but continues at work. Most often, it takes the form of abusive phone calls or text messages (40.6%). In 20.5% of cases, the victim was stalked or harassed near her workplace, and in 18.2% of the cases, the abuser physically came to the workplace. 

Not surprisingly, domestic violence negatively affects a person’s work performance. Overall, 81.9% of domestic violence victims reported feeling distracted, tired or unwell. Over a third of victims said that domestic violence affects their ability to get to work. Sadly, 8.5% of victims of domestic violence lost their jobs as a result of the violence they experience in the home.

The negative impact of domestic violence is far ranging also affecting co-workers, who can be stressed or concerned about the abusive situation.

Ontario and Manitoba have amended their Occupational Health and Safety legislation, and employers are now obliged to protect their workers from domestic violence in the workplace in those provinces.

Having just obtained the data on the ramifications of domestic violence at work, PSAC is working with the CLC to develop education programs and other strategies to better protect our members’ health and safety and human rights at work.

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October 19, 2015
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