Survey: 91% Say HR Should Be Trained on Domestic Violence

By Roy Maurer Feb 20, 2013
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Management-level employees and HR staff should be trained on the workplace impact of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking, a vast majority of respondents told the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in research findings released Feb. 1, 2013.

The Workplace Impact of Domestic and Sexual Violence and Stalking found that 91 percent of organizations indicated that HR staff should be trained on these topics. Specifically, 95 percent think that training is necessary for managers; 82 percent, for executive-level employees; and 74 percent think that it is needed for nonmanagement-level employees.

The survey also revealed that 16 percent of organizations have had a domestic violence incident in the past five years, 19 percent had an issue in the past year, and 22 percent did not know.

Fewer organizations reported having a workplace incident related to sexual violence: 11 percent in the past year and 9 percent in the past five years. About one-quarter of respondents reported having incidents of stalking either in the past year (14 percent) or in the past one to five years (14 percent).

The survey was fielded Oct. 22-Nov. 9, 2012, with 787 HR professionals from a randomly selected sample of SHRM’s membership participating. It found:

  • 54 percent of organizations have a policy that addresses sexual violence, and about one-third have a policy that addresses domestic violence (35 percent) and stalking (31 percent). According to a previous SHRM survey, many companies have a workplace-violence policy in place.
  • 36 percent of organizations offer training that addresses sexual violence, and one in five offers training on domestic violence (20 percent) and stalking (20 percent).
  • Training on domestic violence is mandatory for 56 percent to 73 percent of employees, depending on their level in the organization. Sexual violence training is mandatory for most employees, ranging from 73 percent to 87 percent. About three-quarters (70 percent to 80 percent) of workers are required to participate in training about stalking.

Asked about the ideal format for a training program on domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking, about one-half (50 percent to 58 percent) of respondents said they prefer in-person training through an employee assistance program (EAP) provider or HR, depending on the employee level. One-quarter (22 percent to 27 percent) indicated that a webinar or online group course would be ideal. Asynchronous e-learning is preferred by 16 percent to 28 percent of respondents, depending on the employee level.

The ideal training length would be from 30 to 60 minutes across all employee levels, a majority of businesses indicated. About one-half of organizations said 30 minutes would be ideal for executive and nonmanagement employees; more than one-third agreed that it should be 60 minutes for executive and nonmanagement employees. About one-half of organizations thought training should be 60 minutes for management-level employees and HR staff.

The most common reason (53 percent) given for not providing training on the impact of domestic and sexual violence and stalking in the workplace was that the topics are covered in sexual harassment or other training. Thirty percent indicated their company had too many other priorities or not enough time, and one-quarter (26 percent) said they expect their EAP to handle these issues.

Thirty-eight percent of organizations said their EAP provider offered training; only 8 percent said they did not. However, more than one-third of organizations (36 percent) did not know whether their EAP offered training. Another 18 percent did not have an EAP provider.

Among organizations with EAP providers that offer training, 65 percent provide onsite training in person, and 56 percent offer Web-based training. One-quarter (26 percent) provide other training formats, such as individual consultation, as needed.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.

Related Articles:

Connecticut School Shootings Focus Conversation on Workplace Violence Prevention, SHRM Online Safety & Security, December 2012

Out of the Shadows, HR Magazine, October 2011

Related Resources:

Dealing with Violence in the Workplace, SHRM Templates & Samples, October 2012

SHRM and ASIS International’s Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention: American National Standard (PDF)

SHRM Workplace Violence Survey

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