Quebec group calls on employers, unions to address domestic violence in the workplace

The Quebec association of women's shelters for victims of domestic violence launched a campaign Saturday to raise awareness about how abuse at home can spill into the workplace.

"We know that usually domestic violence occurs at home, not in front of people," said Louise Riendeau, the group's spokesperson. "But sometimes the violence continues at the workplace."

She said women who experience intimate partner violence can be harassed at work by numerous texts, calls, emails, and even surprise visits from their partners. 

Riendeau said her organization is hoping to inform people of the effect this can have on employees: making them late, nervous or unproductive at work.

CBC

She said employers can start the conversation by making it clear they are open to hearing about these issues and working with employees to improve their situations.

"If they know that the woman is a victim, they can make a safety plan," she said.

She is also appealing to unions, saying her organization is ready to offer workplace training or materials about how victims can get help.

While it's not normally discussed at work, Riendeau said employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe work environment.

She said reducing the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence by talking about it can be a good first step.

"We cannot say violence stays home, it comes to work with the women," she said.

For more information about the services offered for victims of domestic violence, click here. Find a list of contacts for women's shelters across the province here.