Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace

Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace Project

Domestic violence costs employers at least $3 billion-$5 billion a year in lost days of work and reduced productivity. – The Bureau of National Affairs

A woman is stabbed to death by her husband while walking to her car after work. Another woman is paged 25 times by a stalker in a 15-minute period while she is at work, and another woman is shot five times as she is walking into work. These are local examples of how domestic violence permeates the workplace. Unfortunately, many companies do not understand the dynamics of domestic violence and its impact on safety and productivity. Companies that respond inappropriately or not all risk reduced productivity, loss of employees or a violent episode in the workplace. Companies, big or small, that operate without policies and training put themselves at risk for increased absenteeism and lateness, workers' compensation claims, healthcare costs, and the loss of employees due to flight, incarceration and even death.

The YWCA has received many calls from area employers that find themselves ill-equipped to respond to employee disclosure of domestic violence. We have found that most workplace environments do not have protocols in place to help protect employees from workplace harassment from abusers or to identify warning signs (absenteeism, injuries) that an employee is being abused. Most employers may not be able to respond to the needs of a battered employee in a supportive and helpful manner, nor do they understand the enormous impact domestic violence can have on a company’s productivity and overall environment.

To respond to this need, the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati has initiated the Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace Project.

Project Goals

  • To increase awareness of domestic violence and support for workers experiencing domestic violence challenges
  • To educate employers about the effects of domestic violence on workers and the workplace
  • To increase the number of area businesses that implement Domestic Violence in the Workplace Protocol
  • To increase corporate sponsorship and support of social programming within the community
  • To create a safe, violence-free and supportive workplace environment for every employee

Domestic violence isn't just a "domestic" issue; it doesn't just happen at home. It affects employers, co-workers, family members, friends and even strangers. When well-educated employers help women in danger, they also help themselves.

Where can you go for help?

The YWCA provides services to corporations, agencies and professionals through training and consultation activities that promote effective responses to domestic violence, including:
  • Technical assistance to area companies experiencing domestic violence in the workplace
  • Policy and procedures consultation with area businesses/organizations in human resources, security and legal liability
  • Training and conferences for healthcare professionals, law enforcement, clergy and educational and social agencies
  • Publication and distribution of Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace Resource Brochure: “Employers Principles: Attributes of a comprehensive and compassionate workplace response to domestic violence.” 

For more information, please call the YWCA Domestic Violence Employer Assistance Program at 513-361-2134.


Violence affects the workplace in a number of ways. Absenteeism, impaired job performance and loss of experienced employees are only some of the costs that companies bear as a direct result of violence.

Toll on Productivity

  • A 2005 study using data from a national telephone survey of 8,000 women about their experiences with violence found that women experiencing physical intimate-partner violence reported an average of 7.2 days of work-related lost productivity and 33.9 days in productivity losses associated with other activities.
  • About 130,000 victims of stalking in a 12-month period from 2005-06 reported they were fired or asked to leave their job because of the stalking. About one in eight employed stalking victims lost time from work because of fear for their safety or because they needed to get a restraining order or testify in court. More than half these victims lost five days or more from work.
  • A 2005 study of female employees in Maine who experienced domestic violence found that: 98 percent had difficulty concentrating on work tasks; 96 percent reported that domestic abuse affected their ability to perform their job duties; 87 percent received harassing phone calls at work; 78 percent reported being late to work because of abuse; and 60 percent lost their jobs due to domestic abuse.
  • In a 2005 telephone survey from the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, 64 percent of the respondents who identified themselves as victims of domestic violence indicated that their ability to work was affected by the violence. More than half of domestic violence victims (57 percent) said they were distracted, almost half (45 percent) feared getting discovered, and two in five were afraid of their intimate partner's unexpected visit (either by phone or in person).


Learn more, get engaged, empower others, empower yourself.