News Article

Could domestic violence policies reduce workplace violence risks?

Without question, the United States holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in mass shootings. As we grapple with answers as to why mass shootings take place more frequently here than in other parts of the world, a new insight has emerged: the link between domestic violence and mass shootings.

The shooter who opened fire during a worship service in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last fall, killing more than two dozen men, women and children, had a history of domestic violence. So did the shooters in recent mass shootings in Las Vegas, San Bernardino and Orlando. In fact, domestic violence was involved in 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016, according to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety.

What can businesses and other public institutions do to reduce risks associated with domestic violence? Here are a few ideas:

Establish policies and supports. Providing employees who are victims of domestic violence with safety and job security is a strong first step. Employees who fear losing their jobs due to dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence may be reluctant to disclose their situation. That lack of awareness may leave a workplace vulnerable to threats. Craft policies that protect victims of domestic violence by helping them change work hours or locations, by providing them with escorts to parking areas, and more. Be aware that courts and some state laws recognize victims of domestic violence as protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and reasonable accommodations must be made for them.

At the same time, consider offering an employee assistance program that would afford employees access to counseling and other services. Make it safe for those who are at risk of lashing out to seek help.
Keep lines of communication open, but discreet. Instruct supervisors and managers to only disclose information on a need to know basis, and map those disclosures out as part of your policy development. For instance, security teams will need to be aware if protective orders have been issued.

Offer workplace violence and active shooter drills as part of your overall disaster preparedness planning. Use the Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol as the basis for your planning.

Include integrated security systems solutions. The Guardian system automatically detects and reports shots fired indoors, and will notify authorities and alert stakeholders immediately and accurately. Automatic detection and alerts shave precious minutes off response times.

Want to know more? Call (800) 567-1180 now to learn more about our upcoming Live Fire demonstrations.

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