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Establishing Policies for Addressing Domestic Violence in the Federal Workplace

Friday, May 25, 2012
MEMORANDUM FOR: 
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
From: 
John Berry, Director
Subject: 
Establishing Policies for Addressing Domestic Violence in the Federal Workplace

Domestic violence results in two million injuries each year, and an average of three women in the United States die each day as a result of domestic violence.  While a disproportionate number of victims are women, domestic violence can affect anyone.  In an April 18, 2012, Presidential Memorandum regarding the establishment of policies for addressing domestic violence in the Federal workplace, President Obama stated that, despite considerable progress made since the initial passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 (Public Law 103-322), domestic violence remains a significant problem in our society. 

President Obama believes strongly that the Federal Government should act as a model in responding to the effects of domestic violence on its workforce.  In the Presidential Memorandum, the President directed Executive departments and agencies to review any current guidance and/or policies that address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.  The intent of this review is to heighten awareness of what procedures agencies have already developed to address this critical issue.  The information received from a review of the current policies will help to inform the eventual governmentwide policy.   It is the goal of this Administration to promote healthy and safe work environments for all Federal employees; therefore, it is important to ensure that the appropriate support and guidelines are in place to prevent domestic violence in the workplace.

Specifically, in the April 18, 2012, Memorandum, President Obama directs agencies to send to OPM any existing agency-specific policies and practices for addressing the effects of domestic violence in the workplace.  This is the first step of a two-part process.  Upon receipt and review of the policies and practices, OPM will, in consultation with other agencies with expertise related to domestic violence, issue guidance on the content of these policies.  The guidance will include recommended steps agencies can take as employers for early intervention in and prevention of domestic violence.

I am therefore responding to the President’s directive by asking that all agencies send their existing policies and practices for addressing the effects of domestic violence on their workforce to OPM’s Work/Life Office atworklife@opm.gov by July 18, 2012.  Please direct any questions to Dr. Alexis Adams (alexis.adams-shorter@opm.gov), Dr. Hope Hanner-Bailey (hope.hanner-bailey@opm.gov), or Ingrid Burford (ingrid.burford@opm.gov).  Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.