Assisting Victims at Work
If risk is imminent or in progress, call 911 and/or company security immediately. Then call the local Domestic Violence hotline number or local Crisis Lines.
Otherwise, here are some ways you can help:
Most important, ask the victim what changes could be made to make her/him feel safer. Remember, the victim knows the perpetrator better than anyone else.
- Advise the victim to talk to the supervisor or designated staff person (e.g., employee assistance manager, human resource manager, security supervisor, owner, etc.) and complete a safety plan, including recent photograph of the perpetrator.
- Encourage her/him to obtain a restraining order that includes the workplace, and keep a copy on hand at all times. The victim may want to consider providing a copy to the police, her/his supervisor, security, or human resources.
- Encourage her/him to save any threatening e-mail or voice-mail messages. These can potentially be used for future legal action, or can serve as evidence that an existing restraining order was violated.
- Ask the victim to name an emergency contact person in case the employee is missing or unreachable.
- Designate a code word or phrase so she/he can alert you to danger.
- Is her/his workstation away from public access, stairs, and elevators? If not, can it be moved? Can barriers be placed between the entrance and the victim's workstation?
- Can she/he be given priority parking near the building and a security escort from her car?
- Can someone walk with her/him to her car or public transit stop? Are there any car pools in her residential area?
- Can others answer her/his phone? How can her/his phone calls be screened? Can her/his phone number be changed? Can caller ID be installed in her/his work unit?
- Can her/his name and number be removed from automated phone messages or directories?
- Can her/his paychecks be delivered to another location?
- Identify co-workers who have special training in security for your supervisor.
- Don't give out any information to others. Perpetrators often have excellent skills in obtaining information from co-workers. Check with your supervisor if you think you have knowledge that may be private and confidential.
- Make sure the employee knows about your workplace policy and how to report any incident. Make certain the employee knows specifics of your policy — does it include threats over the telephone? Does it include non-employees as well as employees? Is there a specific telephone number to call?