Be prepared

“Any and all organizations should probably have a policy that addresses violence in the workplace, including domestic violence,” says Gail Heller, executive director of CHOICES, which is providing business training on the issue through the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence. “That’s going to give the organization some direction, and it’s going to give folks the bottom line about where the organization stands on the issue.”

Other things to do, she says, include:

* Make sure there’s buy-in at all levels of your organization — starting with you at the top.

“This won’t be effective if the organization doesn’t have the support of the CEO or top management,” Heller says.

Determine whether an individual, a team or an outside consultant will create and implement a policy for your company.

* Figure out what roles different people in your company will have in your policy. The human resources department, security and union are examples of key players.

* Start by understanding what domestic violence is and how it influences the workplace. Learn about signs and symptoms typical of a victim or an offender.

* Remember, you are not becoming a counselor but simply being knowledgeable about resources in the community and how to make referrals.

* Don’t make assumptions if you see an employee who has one of the signs. Do, however, take any threats that someone alerts you to seriously.

* Become familiar with not just resources in the community but also those within your company. An Employee Assistance Program, for example, may be well equipped to address the issue for you. How to reach: Training is available to managers and human resource representatives through CHOICES of Columbus at 258-6080.