Justice Department Is First Major Federal Agency to Submit Final Workplace Domestic Violence Policy in Response to Presidential Memorandum
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole today announced the release of a new Department of Justice policy for employees addressing the effects of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the workplace. The Department of Justice has long been at the forefront of addressing domestic violence in the workplace.
“With approximately 114,000 employees in 53 components, the Justice Department is a diverse workplace and it is our hope that this policy will serve as a model for other employers to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “This new policy, and the steps it requires components to take, will improve the safety of the department’s workplaces and will help us better support victims.”
On April 18, 2012, President Obama issued a memorandum entitled “Establishing Policies for Addressing Domestic Violence in the Federal Workforce,” which required the Office of Personnel Management to issue guidance on the development of agency-specific policies to address domestic violence in the workplace. All federal agencies are required to develop an agency-specific policy based on the guidance. The department welcomed the chance to build upon the existing policy first created by Attorney General Janet Reno in 1999, which established support and resources for department employees who experience domestic violence. This order unequivocally stated that domestic violence perpetrated in the workplace was unacceptable and would not be tolerated.
Today, the department adopted a robust workplace policy that fully responds to the president’s call to federal agencies, and addresses not only domestic violence in the workplace, but also sexual assault and stalking.
“The impact of domestic and sexual violence is far reaching,” said Acting Director Bea Hanson of the Office on Violence Against Women. “And it is clear that we all have a part to play in creating a work environment that is safe for all of us. As we introduce this new policy, we must educate ourselves on how we can support co-workers who may be experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. And I am proud that the Office on Violence Against Women has led the charge in supporting organizations that work to address domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in the workplace.”
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. In addition to overseeing 22 federal grant programs, OVW often undertakes initiatives in response to special needs identified by communities facing acute challenges. More information is available at www.ovw.usdoj.gov.