Verbal, sexual, physical, psychological or emotional abuse against family member or an intimate partner is described with legal term «domestic violence». Historically this type of abuse has been considered a criminal issue. According to the government bodies and police records 1 in 4 women has become a victim of domestic violence at least once in their lives. Another statistics show that 1 in 3 female victims of homicide are killed by intimate partner. Domestic violence is also considered the third most wide spread cause of homelessness.
The most horrible is the fact that major part of domestic violence cases remains unreported. In some cases the victims are not aware that the way they are treated by their partner can be qualified as a legal case of domestic violence. They suppose that it`s a private matter and there is no need to attract friends, family members or special agencies.
Nowadays domestic violence is a business, health and social priority. Not only does domestic violence entail personal suffering and injuries, but it also cuts productivity, causes absenteeism and increases costs of health care. Cases of domestic violence are rarely identified unless people are trained not to hide it, speak and ask about it.
Actually domestic violence surrounds us. It affects our friends, families, neighbors and coworkers. But in major cases we know nothing about it. Meanwhile the victims of domestic violence are more liable to various chronic diseases including heart attacks, stroke, asthma, etc. As records show approximately a quarter of employed women tell that the domestic violence had a great impact on their work performance.
Raising awareness is a key factor of addressing domestic violence
An increasing number of business owners and health care professionals realize importance of acknowledging and addressing domestic violence. However, they are in the minority. Major part of physicians don`t want to waste time and prefer to use established diagnostics techniques. But there are no legal tools to help the victims and to deal with the abuse unless domestic violence is identified.
Some major companies such as Verizon, Avon, Allstate, and others, have developed their own methods of screening employees for domestic violence. As a result the rate of identification has significantly increased.
Each of us has a role in the process of identifying and preventing domestic violence. While the role of friends, coworkers and physicians differ a lot, the secret nature of this phenomenon requires vigilance from each of us.
The role of the managers and employers
Employed people spend a major part of the day at work. So coworkers should be first to identify the symptoms of violence and interfere. Company management can promote violence awareness and ways of prevention. It should be integrated in workplace wellness activities and addressed at every health visit. When the cases of domestic violence are brought forward in as many venues as possible, chances are that the silence will be broken.
Managers should be able to understand that ongoing health problems and absenteeism can be result of domestic violence. They should be trained to spot the symptoms of domestic violence both physical and mental.
The role of health care professionals
According to Affordable Car Act domestic violence screening is recognized a national healthcare priority together with nutrition and smoking cessation. The role of health care professionals in identifying the victims of family violence is great. Only of the medical examination proves domestic violence the victim is four times more likely to get legal assistance. Physicians should pay attention not only to physical but to behavioral symptoms of potential abuse. They should talk to the potential victim in a supportive and non-judgmental way.
The role of coworkers, friends and family members
If someone fells a victim to domestic violence family members, friends and coworkers are the first to hear about it. To offer competent support the person himself should be educated and aware of all possible resources to cope with the problem.
Why it`s important to put an end to domestic violence
Each of us should recognize the importance of the role we can play in assisting domestic violence victims. When we don`t want or are not able to provide the infrastructure and training needed to cope with domestic violence cases, the individuals suffer, so do their children, coworkers and all of us. As we are searching for ways of enhancing country`s health shedding light on this detestable phenomenon and protecting family abuse victims is an optimal place to start.