The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is urging all Federal agencies to actively participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), October 2013. One in three women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. While 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women, 1 in 7 men has been a victim of domestic violence. Despite considerable progress made since the initial passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, domestic violence remains a significant problem in our society. President Obama has responded to this critical issue by calling on all Federal agencies, in an April 18, 2012 Presidential Memorandum, to develop policies addressing the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking on the Federal workplace.
Since that time, OPM has established the Guidance for Agency-Specific Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking (DVSAS) Policies and has provided agencies feedback on their draft DVSAS policies. Final agency-specific policies are due to OPM by December 8, 2013. The goal is for agencies to create policies that will lead to the effective management of incidents involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Over time, it is expected that these policies and programs will also result in the reduction, and eventually in the prevention, of such incidents.
This October, agencies can support the recognition of DVAM in a number of ways, including:
- making domestic violence fact sheets available to employees,
- hosting a “lunch-n-learn” where a featured speaker addresses relevant topics,
- sending an agency-wide email bringing awareness to internal resources that are available to support employees, and
- encouraging employees to attend a webinar, hosted by OPM, on Thursday, October 24, 2013, that will present information on the issue of domestic violence and what Federal leaders and employees can do to further efforts at their agencies. (More information on the webinar is forthcoming.)
OPM supports agencies as they create comprehensive policies on the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking on the workplace. OPM also strongly encourages agencies to highlight DVAM in order to shed more light on this very important topic.
cc: Human Resources Directors