Obama Tells Federal Agencies to Address Domestic Violence

Article excerpt

Federal agencies will be required to develop policies to address the ramifications of domestic violence, after President Barack Obama signed a memorandum to that effect April 18.

"We know that domestic violence doesn't just stay in the home," said Vice President Joe Biden in a statement. "It can extend into the workplace, with devastating effects on its victims and costs that ripple across the economy."

Obama noted that federal employees are not immune to the effects of domestic violence.

Biden said the memo will help make the federal government a model for all employers seeking to provide a safe workplace and support for all employees.

The new requirements are important because oftentimes victims of domestic violence do not perceive themselves that way, said Karen Jarmoc, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

"When someone is struggling with this issue at home or in their personal life, they're not always sure where to get help," she told The Nation's Health. "It's important that support and information be available whether you work in the public or private sector."

The memorandum requires the director of the Office of Personnel Management to work with the attorney general and others in the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to issue guidance to agencies addressing the effects of domestic violence. Specifically, the guidance should include steps agencies can take to intervene in and prevent domestic violence against or by employees, guide-lines for assisting employee victims, leave policies relating to domestic violence situations, guidelines on when it may be appropriate to take disciplinary action against employees who commit or threaten acts of domestic violence, steps to improve workplace security and other resources. …