Recent cases involving high profile public figures and professional athletes have brought increased awareness to the prevalence and impact of domestic violence. The Canadian Women's Foundation has reported that 3,300 women are forced out of their homes on any given night due to domestic violence, a startling fact that has wide implications for both individuals physical and mental health. And while we typically think of domestic violence as taking place in the home, it all too often spills into other areas of a victim’s life, be it school, in the community, or the workplace. There have been terrible tragedies involving victims who have been killed while at work stemming from a domestic violence issue. Two cases in particular have brought more awareness to the roles and responsibilities of employers when they become aware of an issue of domestic violence issue:
- Lori Dupont in Ontario was killed by her intimate partner (who worked with her) while at work in a Windsor Hospital in 2005
- Tony McNaughton who was killed in 2000 at a Starbucks in Vancouver when trying to intervene to protect a victim of domestic violence at work
Workplaces can play a pivotal role in supporting and in some cases, protecting victims of domestic violence. But when should the workplace step in? And what type of support should be ready to make available to employees when they need it the most?