Recognizing a victim of domestic violence

January 1, 2010

Domestic violence includes physical, emotional, economic and sexual abuse. The batterer often aspires to isolate the victim to maintain power. There is no general picture of an abuser or victim. Domestic violence exists in all walks of life regardless of race, religion, gender or socioeconomic status.

SafeWork, a New York-based victim assistance organization, offers the following warning signs that an employee may be a victim of domestic violence:

  • Unexplained injuries such as bruises, black eyes, broken bones or hearing loss. Often vaguely attributed to “an accident” or “being clumsy.”
  • Inappropriate dress, such as long sleeves or turtlenecks in warm weather, or wearing sunglasses indoors.
  • Alteration in job performance such as sudden deterioration of work quality, frequent tardiness or absenteeism.
  • Signs of fear and anxiety, and sensitivity about home life.
  • Unusual quietness or staying distant from others.
  • Unusual number of phone calls, faxes or e-mails from a former or current partner and a strong emotional response to the communication.
  • Disruptive personal visits by a former or current partner during work hours.
  • Irrational or unfounded fear of job loss.