Protecting Employees From Domestic Violence During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the lives of everyone, and left many abuse victims in a more vulnerable position.
Domestic violence has always been a massive problem in our society. It is often not talked about, which is a large part of the problem. It thrives in the shadows. The COVID-19 global pandemic has created a lot of shadows. As a result, domestic violence has increased dramatically from its already frighteningly high levels. Many friends, family, and employers of domestic abuse victims find themselves at a loss for what to do to offer protection.
Why is Domestic Violence on the Rise?
There are many factors that come into play in relation to the rise in domestic violence cases during the pandemic. A few of the key factors are:
- Increased time spent with the abuser
- Economic difficulties
- Fewer protective forces
Increased Time Spent With Abuser
The global pandemic has forced both abusers and victims to spend more time in the home. Through a combination of lockdowns, unemployment, working from home, and closures of businesses, couples across the country and around the world are spending a lot more time together in the home than they ever did before. While this has been a pleasant upside to these trying times for some couples, it has been a nightmare for others.
It should come as no surprise that more time spent together in private would lead to more abuse. Even removing all other factors, it simply allows more opportunities for domestic violence to occur, and, inevitably, it does.
The global pandemic has forced both abusers and victims to spend more time in the home.
There is often a strong correlation between economic struggle and domestic abuse. When an abuser loses control of any area of their life, they often turn to the area they feel they can control, which is their victim. They can feel powerful in this relationship when the outside world is making them feel powerless. A happy abuser is typically a lot easier to deal with than an unhappy one.
Fewer Protective Forces
Another major factor that has contributed to the rise in domestic violence during the pandemic is that there are simply fewer protections around for victims. It is likely that their friends, family, co-workers, and employers are not going to be seeing them very often. This leaves an abuser feeling more confident in leaving bruises, as there are fewer people around to need to make excuses to or from whom to hide the damage.
A victim is also less likely to seek out assistance, as victims often wait until their abuser has left to go to anyone for help. There are also fewer options available with temporary bans on in-person hearings in places where in-person hearings are the only way to obtain restraining orders. As the problem is complex, it is worthwhile to learn more about domestic violence in California and elsewhere.
At all times, employers should be looking to protect their employees. Employers and staff should be trained in what to look for when it comes to signs of domestic violence. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, there are fewer opportunities to view these signs, especially where employees are working exclusively from home. However, there are still ways in which an employer can keep an eye out for signs of a problem.
When it comes to physical signs of domestic violence, it can be extremely difficult to detect them if your employees are working from home. However, video conferencing can provide an opportunity for a limited ability to see these signs. Scheduling weekly calls can help protect your employees.
There are many other signs of domestic violence to be on the lookout for that go beyond the physical and are easier to spot from a distance. Some possible indications that your employee might be suffering from domestic violence include:
- Unwillingness to discuss home life
- Unusual quietness
- Lack of concentration
- A change in job performance
- Mentions of any problems with their partner
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to have a conversation with your employee about suspected abuse over a call. When their partner is likely at home with them, it isn’t the best environment for such a discussion, especially because many abuse partners monitor the communications of their victims.
When you have suspicions that an employee may be being abused, scheduling an in-person meeting may give them the opportunity to communicate freely. Inform your employee of any domestic violence protection programs offered by your company and that you are there for them, available to help.
Let them know that they have many legal protections to help shelter them from their abusive partner including laws that provide them with protected time off, which they can use to pursue these avenues of assistance. Victims don’t always want to leave their abusers and often hope to fix the problem within the relationship. Don’t try to push a victim into any action. Be supportive and let them know you will help with whatever path they choose.