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Intimate partner violence present in the workplace

author: kristian ferguson | news editor

Report explores violence/Tor Lindstrand via Flickr

 

Saskatchewan residents take part in survey

The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan [PATHS] released a report and had a presentation at the university on Oct 27. The presentation was in relation to a survey conducted in Saskatchewan on Intimate Partner Violence [IPV] in the workplace.

The report opens with a quote from the Ministry of Justice which states “Saskatchewan has the highest rates of police-reported interpersonal and domestic violence of all provinces across all relationships. This affects the wellbeing of Saskatchewan citizens, businesses and communities and generates high costs to human service systems, workplaces, individuals and families.”

As many are aware, Saskatchewan has long had an issue with high levels of domestic violence and this report is looking to address the fact that the issues at home don’t disappear at work.

Of the 437 people surveyed, and of the 27 people in focus groups and personal interviews, almost 50 per cent of the Saskatchewan respondents stated that they suffered some form of abuse as opposed to the 33 per cent of all of Canada.

Of those who suffered abuse, 83 per cent of them said that it followed them to work as well.

While at work, 44 per cent said that their partner repeatedly sent texts, emails or called while they were at work, 35 per cent said they were prevented from attending work, and 29 per cent said that their partner comes into work to check on them.

Similarly, while at work, 83 per cent of those abused said that they were unable to concentrate while at work. 61 per cent said that they called in sick to work due to abuse and 30 per cent said that they were afraid to go to or leave work.

The report notes that there is also a financial impact. IPV cost Canada as a whole $7.4 billion due to healthcare and other social programs required due to IPV. It also cost Canadian employers almost $77.9 million.

Emotional or psychological abuse was most widely reported by respondents which included things such as being yelled at, humiliated in front of others, or controlling who they talk to.

Physical abuse was less reported but still just as egregious with 24 per cent saying they were pushed or slapped by a partner, 11 per cent saying they had been sexually assaulted by a partner, and 10 per cent saying they had been choked or strangled.

The report does include suggestions for how to better the workplace for victims of IPV.

At a national level, it looks to implement an action plan to support women, especially those in remote or rural locations with increased funding for social programs and increased education on IPV.

At a provincial level, it looked to provide all workers with paid sick leave, amend the Saskatchewan Employment Act to explicitly state that an employee cannot be fired for absence due to IPV, as well as starting a fund for counseling that victims of IPV could access in a timely manner at no cost.

If you wish to learn more about IPV or the work that PATHS does, please go their website at pathssk.org.

About Kristian Ferguson

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