Expert: Employers can reduce probability of violent outbursts - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Expert: Employers can reduce probability of violent outbursts

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A shooting at Faulkner University last week is raising awareness of domestic violence and the impact violent relationships can have in public.

A Faulkner contract worker was shot on campus, allegedly by her husband. She was rushed to a hospital in life-threatening condition, but as the days have passed, officials say they believe she will recover.

Police say employers can lessen the probability of violent outbursts, like that on Faulkner's campus, by creating environments where victims can seek security.

The suspect in the Faulkner shooting chose to carry out a domestic violence act in a place that experts say is the one location most offenders can count on: The work place.

"You know where the victim is Monday morning at 8:00," says One Place Family Justice Center Executive Director Steve Searcy. "You're going there. You know what time they get off, so it becomes quite easy for the offender to target the victim."  

Searcy says this is the leading reason why the agency helps employers draft policies to protect their employees, at no cost. It's something Searcy believes companies can't afford not to have.

"Just having a policy is not any good," Searcy explains. "You need to have a policy and educate your employees and everybody is familiar with that policy."


Searcy uses a presentation to show employers how quickly a domestic violence act can transpire in any workplace, before lunch.

Searcy says at minimum, policies should appoint a representative who victims should report to, and a gatekeeper, equipped with pictures showing who should not be allowed in the building.

"They need to feel safe there and that the employer and coworkers understand the dynamics of what's going on and that they feel free to report," Searcy says.

It's an opportunity to save lives and not become part of a statistic in a city where 85 percent of domestic violence homicides are carried out with a handgun.

Faulkner University says its employees are aware of its harassment policies and how to report those concerns. The University adds that the victim in the shooting did not voice any concerns prior to the incident. The contract worker is supervised by an outside company.

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