Domestic Spillover – How it relates to Workplace Violence.
“It’s Not Going To Happen To Me” is a poor security plan!!!
Since founding the Shaffer Security Group in 2015, Shaffer has worked with many organizations not only to conduct security assessments but also to develop and implement security solutions through training in active shooter response and workplace violence prevention.
Shaffer notes that there are some clear distinctions in culture across industries that allow some to be better prepared for a violent situation in the workplace. He notes, “Most manufacturing facilities and large workshops do a fantastic job of making ‘Safety First.’ They often post large signs to remind their employees to ‘Think Safety’ as they count the number of days without a work-related injury. However, most non-manufacturing firms, such as corporate offices, law firms, [or] large data processing centers do not feel that safety is all that necessary, when in fact it is essential.”
There appears to be a pervasive attitude in industries without a baked-in safety and security culture, with both leadership and employees focusing on physical security only after a critical incident occurs. Shaffer frames this attitude simply: “Everyone thinks, ‘it’s not going to happen to me.’”
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that approximately 2 million people will be victims of nonfatal workplace violence each year, with about 1,000 people dying due to a violent incident at work. While these numbers suggest that a violent workplace event is unlikely, that unlikelihood does not excuse employers from prioritizing the security of their employees, regardless of industry. Shaffer says that “the safety and well-being of employees needs to become a communicated corporate value.”
“It’s Not Going To Happen to Me” is not a good security plan, states Shaffer.
Firms Need to Develop a “Portal” in which their Employees can reports incidents of Domestic Violence or Abuse.
Another hurdle employers have to overcome is the fact their employees who are victims of domestic abuse are frequently reluctant to share their circumstances. This reluctance is driven, in part, by the stigma associated with being a domestic abuse victim. Even worse, the victim may actually believe that their abuse is deserved.
Companies need to implement a workplace violence policy that includes language addressing domestic spillover is a great way to start. Regular review of this policy with employees can help to alleviate concerns.
These policies must be endorsed and communicated from the top down. For the policies to have real effect, there must not only be C-suite buy-in and implementation, but the employees must sincerely believe that their workplace is a safe haven.
Some questions for security leaders to ask themselves:
- Does our organization have a mechanism by which the victim can report domestic abuse?
- Are our reception, security, human resources, and legal staff aware of domestic spillover threats? Could they recognize those threats if they walked in the door?
- Does our organization have intervention-capable employees trained to help diffuse conflicts or violence?
- What are our legal requirements to protect our employees?