Few things we do as employers and organizations are as important as making sure our workplaces are healthy and safe, and that our employees feel confident in the policies and processes in place to keep them safe and well. Especially during the pandemic, I have been reminded that one of my most important roles is making sure that everyone here at the Office on Violence Against Women has their needs holistically met by our workplace.
You might have noticed a new special condition that will be a requirement of all of OVW’s fiscal year 2020 awards. This condition requires all recipients of OVW funding to have — or issue within 270 days of the award date — a policy to address workplace-related incidents of sexual misconduct, including stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence.
As the organizations and staff doing this vital work of addressing sexual violence in our communities, we need to ensure that we are embodying the victim-centered standards of our work in our own offices, and with our own employees, volunteers and interns, consultants, and contractors.
Having a strong, comprehensive policy in place means that in the most difficult moments an organization may face, a well-thought out policy is there to guide you through the challenging steps and choices to address an often painful and emotional — and sometimes dangerous — situation.
We know that creating such a policy can be complex and nuanced. No two organizations are exactly the same so no two policies will be exactly the same.
For that reason, the National Resource Center: Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence, a project of Futures Without Violence, will help OVW grantees navigate policy development and implementation from start to finish. They’ve developed a comprehensive resource toolkit, including a model policy, sample language and definitions, and information on how to get one-on-one guidance to start your policy from scratch or strengthen the policy you may already have in place. The National Resource Center will host a webinar on September 24. You can register here. It will also be recorded and made available online.
Thank you all for your continued victim-centered work during these challenging times. OVW is here for you, and I am grateful to be in this work with you.