Domestic violence widespread, following people to work: Survey

Domestic violence is following people to work, has a significant impact on performance, and is in some cases resulting in job loss, according to a recent survey.
Conducted by Western University’s Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC) in London, Ont., in partnership with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the survey asked 8,429 workers if they’d experienced domestic violence. One-third said yes. Of those, 82 per cent said the violence negatively affected their work performance. Almost 40 per cent said it kept them from getting to work, and for almost 10 per cent, it meant losing their job.

More than one-half said the violence continued at or near the workplace in the form of harassing emails, calls and texts, or stalking and physical violence.

“We were startled to learn how much domestic violence follows people to work,” said Barb MacQuarrie, CREVAWC’s community director. “These results point to an urgent need for action on the part of unions, employers and governments at all levels to ensure people... can find the support they need in the workplace,” she said.

One respondent said she hid or made up excuses for her bruises for years, not sure if her co-workers would support her if she told them the truth.

“I lived in a constant state of fear, worried that telling anyone would just make him even more violent,” said Melissa Corbeil. “In the end I was lucky, because my co-workers and my boss did support me, but that isn’t always the case.”

Yussuff said the CLC has asked to meet with federal labour minister Kellie Leitch to discuss the survey results.

“We’ve asked the minister to work with us to convene a roundtable that includes labour, employers and government, to discuss real workplace solutions,” said Yussuff.