Safe Horizon to Train Regional Chambers of Commerce to Recognize Warning Signs of Domestic Violence in Employees and Co-Workers

Posted on: Friday, October 28, 2011

Keywords: Safe Horizon, domestic violence, New York City, domestic violence at work, domestic violence help, New York City Council, Christine Quinn

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OCTOBER 28, 2011 (New York, NY) - Safe Horizon, New York City’s largest provider of services for victims of domestic violence, announced today the launch of a series of trainings for Chambers of Commerce throughout the City to help businesses recognize signs of domestic violence among employees.  The training sessions are part of the City Council’s 4-point plan to address domestic violence that was announced earlier this year by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.  The kick-off meeting will take place on Friday, October 28 at a luncheon with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce.

Safe Horizon will present the Domestic Violence in the Workplace training to the Queens Chamber of Commerce on November 17.  Training sessions in other boroughs will take place over the next several months.

Ariel Zwang, CEO of Safe Horizon, said “Domestic violence is too often an issue that exists in the shadows, even though it is all too common in our society.  The most powerful tool we have to combat domestic violence is to build awareness and bring it out of the shadows, and business leaders can be invaluable partners in this.  We are grateful for the support of Speaker Quinn and are eager to begin engaging with area business groups under her 4-point plan.”

It is estimated that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.  Nationally, domestic violence costs businesses nearly $6 billion annually in healthcare expenses and lost productivity, and 74% of domestic violence survivors are harassed by their partner while they are at work.

Safe Horizon offers the following warning signs that an employee may be a victim of domestic violence:

  • Unexplained injuries or injuries that do not correlate with the explanation of how they occurred, such as bruises, black eyes, broken bones, and hearing loss, often attributed to "falls," "being clumsy," or "accidents."
  • Dress that is inappropriate (i.e., long sleeves in warm weather or wearing sunglasses inside), which may indicate a hidden injury.
  • Uncharacteristic absenteeism, tardiness, or change in job performance, including poor concentration, errors, slowness, and inconsistent work quality.
  • Uncharacteristic signs of anxiety and fear, including emotional distress, tearfulness and depression.
  • Sensitivity about home life or hints of trouble at home.
  • Requests for special accommodations, such as leaving early or time off to attend court
  • Inability to travel for work.
  • Isolation, unusual quietness, or keeping away from others.
  • An unusual number of phone calls, faxes, or emails from a current or former partner, strong reactions to those calls, and reluctance to converse or respond to phone messages.
  • Insensitive or insulting messages from a partner or former partner taken by others.
  • Disruptive personal visits to the workplace by a present or former partner.
  • Irrational or unfounded fear about losing her job.

Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence in the Workplace trainings are designed to empower businesses to address domestic violence in the workplace in a sensitive and effective manner that protects both the financial viability of the business and the safety of its employees.  The training includes discussion of signs that a co-worker or employee may be experiencing domestic violence at home, tips for how to respond to the needs of the employee, and information on services and supports that are available by Safe Horizon and partnering organizations in the community to help.  Safe Horizon has provided trainings like this to companies such as Altria, Phillips Van Heusen, Liz Claiborne, and others.

To arrange an interview with a Safe Horizon expert who can discuss these warning signs and the services offered by Safe Horizon for victims of domestic violence, please contact our Communications office at

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