Some of the components you’ll want to consider including in your organization’s domestic violence prevention program are a statement of purpose; workforce demographics; metrics and evaluation methods; communication objectives; matched activities and key messages. The information below will help your workgroup create a comprehensive communication program.
Statement of purpose
The statement of purpose is the foundation of your domestic violence prevention program; it acknowledges the problem, commits to supporting the workforce and expresses the core objectives of the program.
Here is an example of a statement of purpose:
“Violence is a significant problem in our society that impacts all of us and will not be tolerated in our workplace community. We are committed to providing a work environment free from violence or threats of violence against individuals, groups, or employees. Through our Domestic Violence: Prevention at Work initiative, we will work to ensure that all employees are treated with respect and equality and are free from violence”.
Your plan ought to acknowledge the unique demographics of your workforce, as these factors can affect the types and method of communication and activities with the workforce. Demographics to consider include:
- male/female ratio
- average age
- workplace diversity
- educational levels
- population type
- urban versus rural location
Establishing program standards
Based upon your organization’s demographic and utilization data, you may want to establish program standards and measurement methods for evaluating the effectiveness of the program. If you do establish program standards, you might consider measuring them by monitoring:
- rates of workplace violence episodes associated with partner violence
- employee satisfaction with prevention activities
- number of employees participating in prevention programs
Reporting the results of this evaluation can help maintain senior management support for the program.
As part of the overall effort to create a safe work environment and to provide information and activities to engage employees, you may consider communication objectives that:
- promote awareness of domestic violence—its prevalence and cyclic nature
- reduce the stigma, guilt and shame associated with abuse
- expand awareness of community-based resources
- promote education and intervention; this information will help employees reach out for help if needed
To support these communication objectives, here are some key messages to include in your communications:
- Domestic violence is a significant problem in our society that impacts all of us.
- Domestic violence will not be tolerated in our communities and workplaces.
- Domestic violence can be prevented if all are willing to get involved.
Consistent and frequent communication will maximize the impact of the message. It is helpful to keep in mind some key communication principles as you design your plan:
- Frequency. People need to hear messages repeatedly in order to process them, and eventually adopt them. Therefore, consider embedding messages that relate to this domestic violence prevention initiative in other communication campaigns, as relevant.
- Consistency. Try to keep the communication focused on supporting the key messages rather than introducing new concepts. Keep the language consistent.
- Know your audience. How can you best reach your diverse workforce? Do they prefer written or oral communications? Print or electronic? Live or video-based? What is the functional reading level of the employee population? Are there cultural issues or perspectives to consider? Ideally, a strategy is created for your general population, followed by specific tactics and activities that are designed for supervisors and other targeted audiences.
- Consider context. What else is going on in the organization? Has there been a recent violent event at the worksite or in the community? Is an anniversary of an incident of violence approaching?
- Try different approaches. Keep in mind that individuals learn 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they see and hear, 70 percent of what they talk over with others, and 80 percent of what they use and do in day-to-day life. As with all prevention campaigns, multidimensional interventions likely will have the best results.
- Make a long-term commitment. Repeat interventions will reinforce the commitment of the organization and the original prevention goals.
With this strong foundation of commitment, data, clear objectives and a communication strategy, you now can devise tactics that support achievement of your objectives. Please review the related documents and tools ValueOptions is making available to support your organization’s domestic violence prevention initiative.
What employers can do about domestic violence
- Establish, reinforce, and communicate sound workplace policies that address violence-at-work issues.
- Develop business practices that support victims and their children (i.e., flextime, temporary leave, job transfers, employee confidentiality, orders of protection help).
- Provide educational training about domestic violence for your employees, supervisors, and managers.
- Hang posters and/or distribute brochures about domestic violence in break rooms and other places where employees congregate.
- Post or distribute resource information—be sure to include your employee assistance program (EAP) information.
- Invite your EAP and local domestic violence resources to set up an informational table at your next employee safety, health and/or benefits fair.
- Invite your EAP and local service providers to present lunchtime talks about domestic violence, conflict resolution, and other related topics.
- Publish educational information on domestic violence on your company’s intranet and in your company’s newsletter.
- Join together with other companies, service providers, and governmental agencies to build collaborative partnerships aimed at creating safe and supportive work environments.
- Support and encourage the use of your company’s EAP.
- Develop workplace-safety plans and threat-management response teams.
- Provide comprehensive health care, including adequate mental health benefits.