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Kentucky Commission on Women Holds Training to Address Domestic Violence in the Workplace

Wednesday, 08 07, 2013

Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian
502-564-2611

Homicide is the second leading cause of death for women on the job

FRANKFORT, Ky. – First Lady Jane Beshear and Kentucky Commission on Women Chair Madeline Abramson today joined commission members, the Kentucky State Police and the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association at a one-day training workshop aimed at responding to domestic violence in the workplace.

Two Louisville-based nonprofits that work to end domestic violence – the Center for Women and Families and the Mary Byron Project – provided the training.

According to the nonprofits, homicide is the second leading cause of death for women on the job.

In an effort to reduce that number, commission members will now pair themselves with state police public information officers and share their domestic violence training with community and business leaders across the Commonwealth.

“Understanding the dynamics of domestic violence and abusive relationships is crucial for us to help communities and businesses reduce the risks to victims in the workplace,” said Mrs. Beshear. “The First Lady’s Office is proud to partner with the commission, state police and the other organizations to raise awareness about workplace violence.”

Nationally, victims of domestic violence lose about $8 million in missed workdays annually as a result of violence, while 74 percent of employed victims of domestic violence are harassed by their partners on the job, according to the nonprofits.

Mrs. Abramson said this project is one of many critical initiatives of the Kentucky Commission on Women in its strategic plan.

“The Commission on Women knows the importance of stamping out every case of domestic violence and its spillover into the workplace,” said Mrs. Abramson. “The day-long training offered commission members a better understanding of ways to reduce instances so they can advise local groups throughout Kentucky.”

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer said the Kentucky State Police is committed to identifying the root causes that contribute to workplace violence.

“This joint effort will provide a broad base of experience and help to identity the domestic violence components that tend to carry over into the workplace,” he said. “We are confident that these efforts will yield a better understanding in order to identify and reduce these occurrences.”

Marcia Roth, executive director of the Mary Byron Project and a training facilitator, said domestic violence has an enormous impact in the workplace across Kentucky, which increases the need for victim resources and community awareness.

“The Mary Byron Project is dedicated to finding innovative and replicable solutions to the epidemic that is domestic violence,” Roth said. “We know that violence in the home follows domestic violence victims when they go to work, endangering them and potentially their co-workers. This project is a unique combination of community partners coming together to fill a large gap in domestic violence intervention and prevention. This groundbreaking program has unlimited potential and it can be replicated and scaled to every community to bring all employers, big or small, urban or rural, into this important and necessary conversation.”

Roth said 91 percent of employees say that domestic violence has a negative impact on their company’s bottom line, but only 43 percent of corporate executives agree.

“Workplaces, to date, have largely been left out of the conversation about domestic violence intervention and prevention,” she said.

Marta Miranda, president and CEO of The Center for Women and Families, Kentucky’s largest shelter for domestic violence survivors, said, “We are all responsible for changing the culture of our workplaces, and establishing them as intolerant of intimate partner violence. We know that workplace violence is very often intimate partner violence that ends up in the workplace.”

The workshop fits into the Kentucky Commission on Women’s goal of empowering women across the Commonwealth to overcome barriers, said Eleanor Jordan, executive director of the commission.

“Thousands of acts of domestic violence occur at American workplaces each year,” Jordan said. “The training offered to participants today will prove to be an effective tool for Kentucky employers to understand how to combat violence against women on the job, assist employees in need, and improve productivity.”

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