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Training to Combat Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking in the Workplace

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
MEMORANDUM FOR: 
HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
From: 
BETH F. COBERT, ACTING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
SALLY Q. YATES, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Subject: 
Training to Combat Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking in the Workplace

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are pleased to announce the release of a newly-developed training course entitled “Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking in the Workplace.”  This course is available to all agencies at no cost on HR University (http://hru.gov/Course_Catalog.aspx?cid=231&mgr=false). 

Each year millions of people – of every background, ethnicity, age, disability and sexual orientation – experience domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and the impact of this violence is far reaching.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_ipv_report_2013_v17...), more than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 

The unfortunate reality is that – whether we know it or not – at some point in our careers most of us likely will have a colleague who has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  And the effects of such violence don’t just remain within the walls of the home.  They affect all of us who live and work with victims and survivors, their children, and other loved ones.  

In his April 18, 2012, Presidential Memorandum regarding the establishment of policies for addressing domestic violence in the Federal workplace (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/18/presidential-memo...), 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 be a model employer and is committed to providing all employees with a safe and supportive workplace.  In February 2013, OPM released guidance on developing agency-specific policies on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (DVSAS) in the workplace (https://www.chcoc.gov/content/government-wide-guidance-address-effects-d...).  The guidance strongly encourages agencies to highlight training and awareness in DVSAS workplace policies.  It also points to the importance of educating supervisors, human resources personnel, internal or external Employee Assistance Program (EAP) personnel, and employees about the effects of DVSAS on the workplace, including provisions for confidentiality and privacy requirements and employer and employee obligations under agency policy.

In response to this training directive, OPM and DOJ partnered to develop a comprehensive online training addressing DVSAS in the Federal workplace.  The training is applicable to all Government agencies and covers definitions and types of DVSAS, how DVSAS is a workplace issue, possible signs and symptoms of DVSAS, the importance of maintaining confidentiality in the workplace, and identifying the internal and external resources available to assist employees and managers.  The training clearly flags issues of particular importance for supervisors, has links to external resources such as 24-hour hotlines, and offers interactive scenarios to help users think about how to respond in different situations.  

We are asking agencies to consider making a commitment to require all employees, including leadership, to take this training and responsibly prepare the workforce for proactive and effective response to potential DVSAS-related incidents in the workplace.  OPM and DOJ will contact agencies by September 6, 2016, to see how agencies are progressing with the roll out of the training to employees and other domestic-violence awareness related efforts.  Any questions about the new training should be directed to Dr. Alexis Adams (alexis.adams-shorter@opm.gov) and Marnie Shiels (Marnie.Shiels@usdoj.gov).  

cc: Chief Human Capital Officers, Deputy Chief Human Capital Officers, Chief Learning Officers, and Offices of Diversity and Inclusion