STANDING FIRM and its parent organization, Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh are considered essential life sustaining services and remain open to provide shelter, advocacy and resources for survivors of intimate partner violence and our employer members during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay at home orders have meant different things to different people.
When work is safer than home, employees who are surviving violence in their relationships and families experience increased isolation and danger as a result of social distancing measures during the Coronavirus pandemic. For some, workplaces and schools function as protective environments. The loss of work and school as an escape valve and the increased stress created by job losses, financial setbacks and forced contact can increase the risk of violence and abuse.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, supervisors and coworkers often played a key role in extending support and helping survivors connect with services. Fulfilling this role is even more critical when the stay-at-home order create barriers to seeking safety due to increased isolation, communication limitation, and inaccessible pathways to escape from abuse.
As workplaces adjust to the unfamiliar reality of remote interactions, the following tips may help supervisors and coworkers recognize when a colleague may be experiencing violence at home, to respond in a manner that centers the survivor’s physical and emotional safety needs, and refer them to resources available to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits all approach to safely supporting survivors; many of the typical strategies and avenues to seek safety or provide support may no longer be viable.
The most important thing employers can do is be aware of the increased risk of partner violence, provide guidance for managers to ensure they are aware of the issue and are equipped to support any of their employees who might be experiencing abuse at home at this time, and refer them to the appropriate support services.
Source: Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence, WHEN WORK IS SAFER THAN HOME, Supporting Workers Experiencing Violence during the Pandemic, https://www.workplacesrespond.org/page/covid19supportingworkers/