199055 Employee Assistance Programs and efforts to address intimate partner violence

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Monique Clinton-Sherrod, PhD , Risk Behavior and Family Research Program, RTI International, Cullowhee, NC
Keshia Pollack, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Christine Lindquist, PhD , Crime, Violence and Justice Research, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Whitney Austin, BA , Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Tasseli McKay, MPH , Crime, Violence and Justice Research, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Beth Lasater, MSPH , RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a public health problem that significantly impacts the workplace. Currently, there is limited information on the scope of services and programs that Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) offer to address IPV. A comprehensive survey was used to collect information from 28 external U.S. EAP providers. Key staff from EAPs completed telephone interviews with research staff. Results indicate substantial variability across EAPs in how IPV issues are assessed. Most EAPs have limited screening and do not utilize a specific code for IPV and therefore cannot adequately report on IPV prevalence or service utilization. EAP services commonly available to the workplace include manager trainings on general workplace violence, assistance in developing workplace violence policies, and management consultation. Services commonly available to IPV victims include crisis counseling and safety plan development, referrals to affiliates for counseling, and referrals to community resources. Services for IPV perpetrators were fairly limited and primarily involved referral to batterer interventions, when available. Most EAPs offer some customized services for IPV, primarily for work-based prevention activities, but this service is rarely requested by companies. Commonly cited challenges associated with IPV service delivery include low awareness of IPV among employers, confidentiality issues, lack of specific policies for addressing IPV, and fear of reporting IPV among employees experiencing this issue. Standardized assessments, coding, and reporting of IPV service utilization are needed. Findings from this study provide insights into current EAP efforts to address IPV and recommendations are put forth for continued improvement in addressing this critical issue.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the extent of IPV services and programs that Employee Assistance Programs offer to the workplace, IPV victims, and perpetrators. 2. Identify challenges faced by EAPs, employers, and employees in addressing domestic violence issues in the workplace. 3. Discuss ways in which EAPs may be able to enhance services for domestic violence related issues.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I lead the subcontracted project from which data is drawn for this study and have published, presented, and led grants/contracts focused on various issues related to intimate partner violence, including this subcontract to Johns Hopkins University for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, Inventory of Employee Assistance Programs and Activities to Address Domestic Violence and a CDC-funded Evaluation of Workplace Interventions for IPV (Project Director). Other IPV-focused grants/publications include: Grant: A Longitudinal Examination of the Impact of Community-Level Social Factors on Domestic Violence among Couples with a Male Partner in Alcohol Treatment (2008 to date, Principal Investigator, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Publications: Fals-Stewart, W., & Clinton-Sherrod, A. M. (in press). Treating intimate partner violence among substance- abusing dyads: The effect of couple’s therapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.; Fals-Stewart, W., Klostermann, K., & Clinton-Sherrod, A. M. (in press). Substance abuse and intimate partner violence. In K. D. O’Leary & E. M. Woodin (Eds.), Understanding psychological and physical aggression in couples: Existing evidence and clinical implications.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.