Workers may come to know of others DV experiences

Workers may come to know of others\’ DV experiences in several ways—they may witness it, hear about it GW5074 from either the victim, perpetrator, or from someone else at work, or they may piece it together from observing warning signs. There are many online resource guides for the recognition of signs of DV victimization and perpetration both generally, and for the workplace in particular [e.g., [28–31]], and interventions to improve recognition of DV, at least among healthcare professionals, can be effective [32]. Nevertheless, evidence to date suggests that most workplaces do not provide management or employees with adequate training in DV [33], and some evidence finds that supervisors report specific difficulty recognizing signs of DV in the workplace [34]. We are aware of only one study reporting rates of recognition of DV (victimization) warning signs in the workplace—the most commonly recognized warning signs were depression, changes in work performance and signs of anxiety and fear [22].
Overall, many issues related to awareness of DV in the workplace remain understudied. First, more research is needed to clarify the extent to which workers are aware of DV victimization and perpetration in general, and in particular, the warning signs and impacts of DV in the workplace. Second, whether DV victims are more likely to recognize others\’ experiences of DV is unclear. Some psychological research shows an in-group advantage in some kinds of person perception [e.g., 35], but, to our knowledge, this phenomenon has not been studied with respect to DV victims recognizing others\’ DV experiences. Finally, research on the impacts of DV in the workplace and the supports that workers receive—from the perspectives of coworkers (as opposed to victims or perpetrators)—is lacking. To address these gaps, we used data from a large-scale pan-Canadian survey to examine the following questions: (1) How common is it for workers to report being aware of a coworker who is a DV victim or perpetrator? (2) What warning signs of DV victimization and perpetration do workers recognize? (3) Are victims of DV more likely than nonvictims to recognize DV and its warning signs in the workplace? (4) When aware: (a) what impacts of DV do workers perceive on the victims\’/perpetrators\’ ability to work; and (b) do they know when victims/perpetrators receive DV-related support at work?

Materials and methods


Nearly 40% of respondents believed they had recognized a DV victim and/or perpetrator in the workplace. This finding lends support to the notion that DV is not only a private or personal issue; its impacts extend far beyond the home and others are often aware of its occurrence, although they may not be sure whether or how to help [24–27]. Our finding that 35.4% of respondents reported knowing a coworker who had experienced DV is higher than some previous estimates [e.g., 20], but lower than others [23], perhaps reflecting differences by region or work sector. Respondents reported recognizing a variety of warning signs in the workplace; several for victimization (e.g., anxiety and changes in work performance) are consistent with what little previous research has been conducted in this area [22]. Reports of awareness of DV victimization was more common than reports of awareness of perpetration, but angina is unclear whether this reflects the ease of detecting victimization and the difficulty of hiding it relative to perpetration, and/or whether victims are more likely to disclose their victimization to coworkers than perpetrators are to discuss their abusive behavior. The pattern of sex differences in reports for recognition of victimization and perpetration may also be an indication that sex composition of a workplace plays a role. For example, recognition of victimization may be more common in female-dominated work sectors (because women are more likely to experience DV, especially severe forms) whereas recognition of perpetration may be more common in male-dominated work sectors (because men are more likely to be perpetrators of DV, especially severe forms) [6].