Did you know that there is a link between mass shootings and family violence?  A 2017 analysis by the Everytown for Gun Safety group showed that between 2009 and 2016, 54 percent of the mass shootings that occurred in the US had some connection with family violence.  Some people will look at that statistic and dismiss it as irrelevant.  After all, if you don’t live with family violence, that number has no impact on your life, right?

If you have a job, think again.  Regardless of where you work, or what you believe family violence survivors look like, you should know they are anywhere and everywhere. They look just like you and me.  They have jobs.  And bills to pay. They even have spouses or intimate partners, and children, pets and homes. You may not be able to pick them out of a crowd, but I assure you, they are there.

For people living violence at home, the workplace can offer refuge, a place where they feel safe and valued. They may be embarrassed to tell others what they are going through.  They may be concerned about perception, or even worried about losing their jobs.  If someone is at risk at home, they could be at risk at work too. But if you’re not HR, or you’re not a boss, co-workers’ issues are none of your business, right?  While that statement is technically correct, I suggest that just because you don’t see a danger doesn’t mean it’s any less real.  And you don’t need to invade any of your co-workers’ privacy to help keep them- and your entire workplace- safe.  Employees’ everyday practices can help minimize risk.

Can you actually prevent violence at home from following people to work? Most companies point will to workplace security measures as evidence their  workers are safe. Next, they will point to policy as a way of addressing risk. But what employees actually do is the best measure of the culture when it comes to how safe employees feel. Policy and security measures are only as good as those who use them…and where gaps exist, you’ll find risk.

When it comes to family violence and risk in the workplace, education and awareness can help bring positive changes that improve workplace safety and lessen risk.  When you get to work today, take a look around…and ask yourself how your company measures up!