There is a call for more honest and frank discussion — at work — about incidents of violence at home.
The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, or PATHS, wants more action to provide more services and education in the workplace for people experiencing domestic violence.
According to Crystal Giesbrecht, PATHS director of research and communications and co-author of a recent report entitled Intimate Partner Violence & the Workplace, intimate partner violence in Saskatchewan is more than double the national average.
And she says workplaces should be a safe haven for many.
“We saw in this study, that people didn’t come forward and identify to their manager or union that they were experiencing violence,” Giesbrecht said. “Until things got really bad and something happened that they had no choice but to say it.”
Giesbrecht says Saskatchewan consistently has the highest domestic violence rate among the provinces.
“If we can get information and training out there into workplaces,” Giesbrecht said. “We know with the high rates of violence in this province and what our survey has further illustrated, that in every workplace and every sector, someone is going to be touched by intimate partner violence.”
Geisbrecht says it’s hard for most people to bring these concerns to work adding the report shows a need for education and awareness, because a lot of people don’t seem to understand how to address the issue of domestic violence.
“People often are feeling a lot of stigma and shame,” Giesbreacht said. “They don’t know how this information will be received. They don’t know what kind of response they will get at work, so they are afraid to come forward. I think one of the most important steps in public education and awareness. And that’s one of the things we’re working on at PATHS.”
Giesbrecht says the economic cost of spousal violence in Canada in 2009 was 7.4-billion dollars.
The PATHS report estimates nearly 78-million dollars comes directly from employers.