Helping others in abusive relationships

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by Tina de Benedictis, Ph.D., Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
www.helpguide.org and www.aaets.org

In my workplace, what are the warning signs that a person is a victim of domestic violence?

Domestic violence often plays out in the workplace. For instance, a husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend might make threatening phone calls to their intimate partner or ex-partner. Or the worker may show injuries from physical abuse at home.

If you witness a cluster of the following warning signs in the workplace, you can reasonably suspect domestic abuse:

  • Bruises and other signs of impact on the skin, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Depression, crying
  • Frequent and sudden absences
  • Frequent lateness
  • Frequent, harassing phone calls to the person while they are at work
  • Fear of the partner, references to the partner’s anger
  • Decreased productivity and attentiveness
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Insufficient resources to live (money, credit cards, car)

If you do recognize signs of domestic abuse in a co-worker, talk to your Human Resources department. The Human Resources staff should be able to help the victim without your further involvement.