I thought it would be useful to find numbers on domestic abuse in Canada to give a sense of the scope of the workplace impact. I found, perhaps not surprisingly, that stats on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Canada reveal that numbers are readily available for physical and sexual violence. Little information is available, however, regarding other types of aggression in intimate relationships including neglect, verbal and emotional abuse, financial and social control, and male entitlement.
Trying to avoid spilling my precious morning coffee while lugging the ancient beast of a laptop, I settled awkwardly into a spot at the café that was my “second living room.” The kids were just off to school and I was determined to make this the morning that I wrote my first blog post for Centre for Violence Against Women and Children. I had shared my story with the Centre a few months earlier and had been invited to write about a couple of topics; the impact of domestic violence on the workplace would be my first.
This past year has been full of change. The influence of the #MeToo movement in the workplace cannot be downplayed, with many more women feeling encouraged and supported to come forward with their experiences of harassment and abuse. It has also helped to create better practices and policies within organizations, while also opening the doors to have these conversations. At Make It Our Business, we have continued to focus on educating workplaces and organizations with a variety of training options, while also discussing issues that are becoming more mainstream or need to be at the forefront of issues, especially through our blog.
The winter holiday season creates many expectations for a time of joy. Television commercials, stores, online advertisements, all show images of happy families and friends celebrating together and enjoying the holiday celebrations.
This isn’t the reality for everyone, though. For many people the holidays are filled with sadness, anxiety or pain. This time of year can bring up difficult memories or bring us into contact with people who we would rather not see. It is especially tough for those who have lost a loved one or are going through difficult times. For some, family get-togethers can bring up painful memories or fears. Others might feel very alone and isolated at this time of year, with limited resources and support.
From November 25 to December 10, individuals and organizations around the world have campaigned to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. The 16 Days of Activism Campaign kicked off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues each year.
You hate to hear it, yet maybe you can recall an instance where you’ve suspected it: older workers are discriminated against in the workplace, be it in getting hired or retaining a position. This phenomenon isn’t new, but it’s underreported and difficult to verify. However, awareness of the issue has gained traction now that baby boomers retire in record numbers and questions surrounding boomers’ retirement preparedness are more pressing. With October 1 marking the International Day of Older Persons, we’d like to spotlight the issue of employment discrimination against older people, and encourage you to support a co-worker that might be facing discrimination.
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.