As the ripple of domestic abuse spreads out wider and wider, more people are affected. These are folks who are not as close as friends, but the victims may spend as much, if not more, time with them. Employers, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances may be the last to know the terror that an abuse victim is experiencing.
Taking time off to recover from injuries, being late because of the upheaval in the home, not being able to concentrate, getting unsettling phone calls at work from the abuser, the abuser showing up to harass the victim…these are just a few of the scenarios that can happen to a victim that is working while living in an abusive relationship. If an employer doesn’t know the situation, they may think the employee is slacking or falling short on their own. If the employer and coworkers do find out, they may be more sympathetic and try to extend kindness to the victim or they may judge and hold the victim responsible for not leaving the relationship. Coworkers also may get tired of taking up the slack of an abuse victim who isn’t doing their job or is missing a lot of work.
All employers should have training to know how to handle situations of domestic abuse because there are times when it does spill over into the workplace. There are things that should and shouldn’t be said to the victim. There are things that an employer can do to help the victim in an emergency. There are safety precautions that should be taken if the abuser should show up at the work place.
Neighbors can be affected in many ways also. If there is a lot of shouting, swearing, noise and physical abuse, the neighbors may have to get involved. If they step in to help protect the victim, that can put the neighbors in danger. If the police are called, that can also disrupt the neighborhood, and the neighbors may be called upon to be witnesses. There may be times when the victim, or the children have run to the neighbors for safety or to call the police.
The police themselves may be in danger as they approach a volatile domestic violence situation in a home. This is happening more and more frequently where domestic violence incidents put the lives of the police and first responders in danger.
This is just another ripple as the effects of domestic abuse spread out from one controlling abuser.