For employers, the obligation to protect workers who may be experiencing domestic violence and who also have a disability requires sensitivity and training on multiple and unique barriers that increase vulnerability. Women with disabilities cross all demographics. Race, class and ethnicity are elements of a person’s identity that combine with disability to create additional social disadvantages. A racialized woman with a disability is likely to have experienced multiple forms of discrimination based on her race, gender and ability.
La Duke’s book, “Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook on Worker Violence Prevention” was written in response to what he describes as “blatantly bad advice from so called violence prevention experts” who do not appreciate the difference between a mass shooting with “untargeted violence” where the shooter doesn’t care who is killed in the quest for a high body count, and workplace violence where the shooter is pursuing a specific target or targets. The distinction is a critical one. Case reviews of domestic homicides consistently show that there are almost always warning signs and risk factors that can be acted on to intervene as early as possible, implement safety planning and reduce risk in an escalating situation.
On June 21, 2019, International Labour Organization member governments, worker representatives and employers’ organizations voted overwhelmingly to adopt the ILO Convention of Violence and Harassment. Following two years of negotiations, the landmark vote sets new international standards for ending violence and harassment in the workplace.
52% of Canadian women have been sexually harassed in the workplace, and 28% of Canadian women have been the subject of non-consensual sexual touching in the workplace. The era of #metoo is long overdue.
A 2018 survey from the Angus Reid Institute also points to an important point: views on workplace sexual harassment largely depend on age and gender. Older generations often have different views on the issue, and opinions tend to differ quite greatly between young men and young women.
Studies show an equal number of women in the workplace and in management has a direct correlation to the success of the organization. Meaning: when there’s a gender balance, a company is much more likely to succeed and report higher revenue.
Women play a clear role when it comes to prosperous workplaces.
Held on April 28, the National Day of Mourning in Canada is a day dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related injury. It’s also, importantly, a time to renew our work toward improving health and safety in the workplace while also preventing more deaths, injuries and illnesses.
According to official numbers from Canada’s worker compensation agencies, close to 1,000 Canadians die each year because of their jobs. However, studies reveal that this number is really only a small fraction when it comes to the reality of work-related deaths in the country.
Stats Canada has released data gleaned from a “snapshot day” that looked at women’s shelters on a day in April last year. On that day, there were more than 3500 women in the shelter system across Canada. 3500 is not a small number. Approximately one in five will return to the home they fled from. This is no surprise for anyone who understands the ways in which abused women face an uphill climb to protect themselves and their children when they have violent partners.
“Why doesn’t she just leave?” is the wrong question. It presumes that leaving an abusive relationship is a simple solution that will end the violence. The greatest time of risk for being killed is separation. The question also places the weight for violence that is happening to her, on her. It’s ‘on her’ because the implicit assumption is that she needs to stop the abuse – by leaving. This is how victims are blamed for being victimized.
News sources reported this week that the National Rifle Association (NRA) will oppose the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the U.S. The NRA is taking issue with the “red-flag” provision that seeks to prevent people who have committed domestic violence from obtaining firearms. The VAWA was first legislated in 1994 to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence. Congress is set to vote to reauthorize the Act in April. New legislation is being proposed to expand the prohibitive category beyond spouses to include anyone convicted of abusing, assaulting or stalking a dating partner as well as those subject to a restraining order. The previous legislation limited the definition to spouses or ex-spouses. Perpetrators of domestic homicide are most often male.
As we celebrate the 2019 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, it’s important to take stalk of the recent progress we’ve made in Canada on promoting equality in the sciences but also the work that remains ahead of us. I am very proud to serve as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, and to serve my constituents in London West and all Canadians on this important file.
The #MeToo movement has put sexual harassment and violence in the workplace front and center. But what about violence that occurs in the personal lives of employees, such as domestic abuse and sexual violence?
Is this something that employers should be thinking about and create policies to help support employees who have experienced this type of abuse? The answer is yes.