Rooting Out Domestic Violence

Saturday, June 16, 2012
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A recently released study has found that many employee-assistance programs do not have a policy that would specifically help identify individuals who abuse -- or have the potential to abuse -- their intimate partners.

The study, published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and Triangle Park, N.C.-based RTI International, is the first to explore the ability of EAPs to screen and offer treatment to people who commit violence against their partners.

Most EAPs "really rely on people to self disclose," says Keshia Pollack, one of the study's authors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that intimate-partner abuse, formerly called domestic violence, costs businesses more than $700 million a year in lost productivity. That breaks down to more than 7.9 million paid workdays lost per year.

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And it's not just the victims -- studies have shown that perpetrators have lower productivity on the job in addition to missing work, showing up late or leaving early.

"EAPs talked about a barrier, people being fearful that they're going to be arrested so they are not even stepping forward," says Pollack, an assistant professor at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins' Center for Injury Research and Policy.

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