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Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence

Domestic violence is an issue that affect many people's lives. The Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) defines IPV as a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors that may include inflicted physical injury, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, stalking, deprivation, intimidation and threats. These behaviors are perpetrated by someone is, was or wishes to be involved in an intimate or dating relationship with an adult or adolescent, and are aimed at establishing control by one partner over the other. No one deserves to be abused. FEAP consultants are trained to understand the dynamics related to domestic violence and can help you to connect with the appropriate resources. Please contact us at 434.243.2643 if you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence/intimate partner violence. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. The following provides additional information on this important topic.


Awareness means understanding that behaviors left unchecked can escalate into violence.  If there is a behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable, don't ignore it.  Take action well before the point at which violence might occur.  If you or someone you know is concerned about any of the following signs and/or behaviors, contact your supervisor, human resource/employee relations, security, 
FEAP, or Workplace Risk Assessment department. 


Your employee/co-worker may be in an abusive relationship if she/he has:

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Explanations that just don’t add up
  • Distractions, has trouble concentrating, misses work often
  • Receives repeated, upsetting telephone calls during the day
  • Appears anxious, upset or depressed
  • The quality of work fluctuates for no apparent reason
  • A high absenteeism rate, due to frequent medical problems
  • Fears about leaving children at home alone with the abuser

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior, including acts or threatened acts, that is used by a perpetrator to gain power and control over a current or former spouse, family member, intimate partner or person with whom the perpetrator shares a child in common. It occurs in heterosexual and same-sex relationships and impacts individuals from all economic, educational, cultural, age, gender, racial and religious demographics. Domestic violence includes, but is not limited to, physical or sexual violence, emotional and/or psychological intimidation, verbal abuse, stalking, economic control, harassment, physical intimidation or injury.

The Power & Control diagram is a particularly helpful tool in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors, which are used by a batterer to establish and maintain control over his partner. Very often, one or more violent incidents are accompanied by an array of these other types of abuse. They are less easily identified, yet firmly establish a pattern of intimidation and control in the relationship.

The following are some warning signs that you  may be in an abusive relationship.

Does your partner:

Verbally insult, demean or threaten you?

Isolate you from friends, family or other people?

Organize schedules to follow or harass you?

Limit your mobility or access to money?

Explode into a rage and assault you physically or sexually?

Negate your words, abilities, ideas and actions?

Choke, punch, slap, kick or otherwise hurt you?

Excuse each attack and promise to stop?

If this sounds familar, you could be a victim in an abusive relationship.  You are not alone and, you are not to blame.

The Faculty and Employee Assistance Program  (FEAP)  1.434.243.2643  Employees, family members, supervisors, managers and faculty can call to discuss concerns of employees with domestic violence issues.  They all may directly request a confidential session with a FEAP consultant. 


Domestic violence affects the workplace through an increase in absenteeism, health care costs, lost productivity and security risks.  Nearly one-third of American women will experience domestic violence. A national survey conducted by EDK Associates found that more than one in three women (37%), who have experienced domestic violence reported the abuse had an impact on their work performance. 

Domestic violence can follow a woman into the workplace.  According to the National Safe Workplace Institute survey, 94% of security directors surveyed rank domestic violence as a high security problem at their company. It is in the best interest of the company to address domestic violence in the workplace.  The Bureau of National Affairs estimates that family violence costs U.S. corporations $3 to $5 billion annually in lost time and productivity.  It costs less to help a troubled employee than to fire then rehire and train a new employee.  Addressing domestic violence can also:

  • Improve attendance
  • Decrease health care costs
  • Decrease liability exposure and costly settlements
  • Decrease security risks
  • Help create a better product

As equally important as financial reasons, domestic violence affects everyone in the work area as well as at home.  Intervening with an employee dealing with domestic violence helps everyone while also showing you care. It is important to recognize these behaviors, and to say something if you see any of them so that they don't escalate and cause a greater risk of harm to faculty, staff, students and the community. In the workplace and academic environment, co-workers often know about incidents of domestic/intimate partner violence and are in the best position to elevate the situation for help

One out of every four American women report  physical abuse by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.

Businesses lose between $3 and $5 billion annually for medical costs associated with domestic violence.

56% of women who are victims of domestic violence or intimate partner violence affects employees in every workplace. Victims of domestic or intimate partner violence can benefit from support that improves his or her safety and addresses emotions related to the abuse.



  • Have pamphlets and posters visible in the workplace
  • Educate employees and supervisors about domestic violence
  • Get men involved
  • Offer self-defense classes
  • Create a sponsorship model where formerly abused employees can mentor those who need help


As supervisor, you may notice signs of domestic violence but are unsure of what to do next.  You must respect the employee’s privacy.  Unless the employee reveals abuse to the supervisor, you should not make direct inquiries about known/suspected abuse (i.e., do not diagnose domestic violence).  You can express concern about observed behaviors or bruises.

You can also create a working environment where employees feel safe to talk about domestic violence.  Educate employees about domestic violence and display materials condemning domestic violence.  Additionally, supervisors should address performance related issues that may arise due to domestic violence, and in doing so can make appropriate referrals to services that may assist the employee.

 If the employee/co-worker approaches you regarding abuse, here are some supportive messages that you can share:

  • “I am concerned for your safety.”
  • “It will only get worse over time.”
  • “I am here for you when you need help.”
  • “You don’t deserve to be abused.”
  • “There are resources in the company/organization and in the community that can help you.”



It is clear that domestic violence or intimate partner violence affects employees in many workplaces. Victims of domestic or intimate partner violence can benefit from support that improves his or her safety and addresses emotions related to the abuse. 

  • Saving any threatening mail or voicemail messages
  • Parking close to the entrance of the building
  • Notifying security or the police
  • Having calls screened, transfer harassing calls to                                 security, or remove name/number from automated directories
  • Thinking about flexible or alternate work hours
  • Avoiding work in isolated areas
  • Relocating work space to a more secure area
  • Establishing a plan if employee unexpectedly does not show up for work
  • Saving any threatening mail or voicemail messages
  • Parking close to the entrance of the building
  • Notifying security or the police
  • Having calls screened, transfer harassing calls to security, or remove name/number from automated directories
  • Thinking about flexible or alternate work hours
  • Avoiding work in isolated areas
  • Establishing a plan if employee unexpectedly does not show up for work


  • Establish rapport with him/her if you do not already have one
  • Listen without judging. Often a battered spouse/partner believe their abuser's negative messages
  • Let her/him know that you care about their welfare
  • Tell her/him that they are not responsible for the abuse
  • Emphasize that when they want help, it is available
  • Explain that domestic violence is a crime and the police, courts, and a domestic violence program can all help
  • Provide referral phone numbers
  • Give her/him written materials


Many women/men remain in the relationship, and try to get help for their abusers.

Realize that often the most dangerous time for a woman is when she threatens the batterer’s control by attempting to leave.  Suggest that she/he talk with her/his doctor or nurse about the violence.  Encourage her/him to call a domestic violence hotline or FEAP for help.  Family members, pastors, chaplains, or church leaders are other potential sources of support.



 If you want to talk with someone yourself to get advice, contact FEAP or a local domestic violence program.

While your role is not to be a counselor, you can refer her/him to the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP).  FEAP is a free, confidential, service available to all employees and their family members providing management consultation, assessment, referral and short-term counseling.  You can also refer her/him to local domestic violence agencies (See Community Resources)

Community Resources for Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence:

Supervisors, managers can call to discuss concerns of employees with domestic violence issues. Employees and family members can call directly to set up a confidential session with a FEAP consultant. Our local Domestic Violence Shelter: Shelter for Help in Emergency: 434.293.8509. http://www.shelterforhelpinemergency.org/

 24- Hour Hotline

 24-Hour Hotlines The Shelter for Help and Emergency (SHE) (804) 293-8509 Virginians Against Domestic Violence (VADV) 1-800-838-8238

Shelter Services Include:

  • 24-hour crisis hotline
  • 24-hour emergency shelter
  • Supportive individual and group counseling
  • Case management
  • Child and adolescent advocacy
  • Information and Referrals
  • Court accompaniment and legal advocacy
  • Outreach and support to the Spanish-speaking community
  • Community education and allied professional training

For over 17 years, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has been the vital link to safety for women, men, children, and families affected by domestic violence. With the help of our dedicated advocates and staff, we respond to calls 24/7, 365 day a year.  We provide confidential, one-on-one support to each caller and chatter, offering crisis intervention, options for next steps and direct connection to sources for  immediate safety.  Our database holds over 5,000 agencies and resources in communities all across the country.  Bilingual advocates are on hand to speak with calls, and out Language Line offers translations in 170 different languages.

The University of Virginia Women’s Center   (434) 982-2252

Family Violence and Sexual Assault Virginia Hotline 1.800.838.8238

House of Ruth

Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA)   (804) 977-7273

The Women’s Initiative   (434) 872-0047  

End Violent Encounters


Charlottesville Commonweath's Attorney   (804) 970.3176

Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney (804) 972.4072

Legal Aid (804) 977.0553

 Additional Information:

The Continuum of Negative Interpersonal Behavior, The Bully Free Workplace

Additional facts on Domestic Violence in the Workplace:

Workplaces Respond.org: A National Resource Center