Engaging The Business Community in IPV Prevention Through Workplace Initiatives

Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
No Private Matter! Ending Abuse in Intimate & Family Relations competition.

The main focus of the program is engaging the business community in preventing domestic violence by 1) encouraging employers to create programs that address domestic violence as a workplace issue 2) encouraging employers to partner with and support community organizations that help those involved in domestic violence because those organizations must be robust in order to assist their employees when those employees need help, and 3) raising awareness of domestic violence as an issue that is "everybody's business" because of the value of a network of businesses standing together with a single message regarding the issue. The power of their message (especially since many of them are Fortune 500 companies) is meaningful and sends a message to a segment of society that may not usually consider domestic violence as something that affects them.

About You

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Location

Project Street Address

Project City

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Project Postal/Zip Code

Project Country

n/a

Your idea

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Focus of activity

Other

Year the initiative began

1995

Position your initiative on the mosaic of solutions

Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Insensitive & Unresponsive Systems

Which of the insights is the primary focus of your work?

Create Paths to Prevention or Remediation

If you believe some other barrier or insight should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic

Name Your Project

Engaging The Business Community in IPV Prevention Through Workplace Initiatives

Describe Your Idea

The main focus of the program is engaging the business community in preventing domestic violence by 1) encouraging employers to create programs that address domestic violence as a workplace issue 2) encouraging employers to partner with and support community organizations that help those involved in domestic violence because those organizations must be robust in order to assist their employees when those employees need help, and 3) raising awareness of domestic violence as an issue that is "everybody's business" because of the value of a network of businesses standing together with a single message regarding the issue. The power of their message (especially since many of them are Fortune 500 companies) is meaningful and sends a message to a segment of society that may not usually consider domestic violence as something that affects them.

Innovation

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Description of Initiative

The main focus of the program is engaging the business community in preventing domestic violence by 1) encouraging employers to create programs that address domestic violence as a workplace issue 2) encouraging employers to partner with and support community organizations that help those involved in domestic violence because those organizations must be robust in order to assist their employees when those employees need help, and 3) raising awareness of domestic violence as an issue that is "everybody's business" because of the value of a network of businesses standing together with a single message regarding the issue. The power of their message (especially since many of them are Fortune 500 companies) is meaningful and sends a message to a segment of society that may not usually consider domestic violence as something that affects them.

Innovation

Our approach is unique because we are a non-profit organization created by the business community to reach out to the business community to engage them on this issue. We are also asking them to look within their own infrastructure and create programs for their own employees as well as partner with community organizations to address the issue. We do this by providing turn-key materials, a step-by-step program, and training that can be customized for each workplace culture so that the program to address domestic violence can be integrated into the existing programs and policies within the workplace.

By engaging the business on many levels (business case, volunteerism, philanthropy, signature cause. etc.) we are able to help work through the business culture on micro and macro levels -- much in the way that society must address the issue.

Delivery Model

We reach those involved in domestic violence through employers. We use a variety of "push" and "pull" materials -- some are passive and available if someone wants to seek them out at the worksite (such as resources we create that employers post on websites), and some are more active (such as desk-drops, brochures, trainings, etc.)

Impact within workplaces is measured by pre-and post-surveys (micro-level). On a macro level, the impact of the organization would be measured by the satisfaction of the companies that continue to work with the Alliance, which is a membership organization.

Key Operational Partnerships

The partnerships with our members companies are what make our work possible. This is especially true of our member companies that are willing to reach out to other companies and share with them regarding the benefits of addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue. These partnerships are central to our initiative, because we would not exist without the will of the businesses that desire to do this work. It is with them that we design new resources and determine best practices, it is the strength of their network together that makes the work stronger than if they were each doing this work as separate entities. It would be impossible to name each of them separately since they are each invaluable to our work.

Impact

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Financial Model

Companies join the Corporate Alliance based on a number of employees. Non-profits, educational, and governmental institutions join at a 50% rate. In addition, we have a "Friend" designation for those that want to receive certain information from us, but are not able to join as full members. In addition, we provide a wealth of information, research, and resources at no cost on our website.

What percentage, if any, of the total operating costs does earned income (from products, services, or other fees) represent?

5%

How is the initiative financed? Is it financially self-sustainable or profitable? How much do beneficiaries contribute?

The initiative is financed through membership dues. The member companies provide the majority of the funding and a small percentage comes from other sources.

Effectiveness

We currently serve well over a million employees in the companies that are involved with CAEPV in the US. In addition, we have hundreds of thousands served through our sister alliance in the UK, and our member company in Turkey. Because of the way that our program outreaches through workplace programs, it is difficult to get an actual number of people served -- likely it is many more than we know.

We are proud to have been part of creating "corporate alliance" models in Turkey, the UK, Australia, and Israel. We have also assisted in the US in creating versions of the model in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and other states. We are gratified every time someone sees the value in this sort of partnership model and in the opportunities afforded when businesses work together to address domestic violence.

How many people have benefited from your program over the last year? Which element of the program proved itself most effective?

Over a million people have been reached by our programs in the past year in the US alone. The element of our program that has been most effective is the "personalized networking" component that is a part of the program where our companies can contact us directly to ask about a workplace problem, ask for help with training, or ask how to connect with another member company. It is that personal "central connecting point" that makes this initiative successful and keeps the businesses engaged and interested in moving forward.

Scaling up Strategy

In the next three years, our priorities will include looking at outreach in other areas such as Employee Assistance Programs since their "reach" is so broad with so many employers. We will also be looking at partnerships that can strengthen our reach to employers to increase awareness and action regarding domestic violence as a workplace issue. Finally, we will work to increase mechanisms for measurement and research in this area, since outcome and effectiveness are such valuable parts of the work, and since it is a relatively new area of study, there is much to be done in that area.

Stage of the Initiative

1

Origin of the Initiative

In 1994, several insurance companies were called to task by Congress for not writing life and health insurance for victims of domestic violence. One of those companies realized that if domestic violence was a health and life insurance cost for insureds, it was a cost for employees. They started to look around and realized that rather than do something punitive to victims, there could be something proactive that could be done for them -- perhaps through the power of the network of the business community working together to address domestic violence as a workplace issue. Thus, out of a negative situation, the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence was formed. It is the only organization of its kind founded by businesses themselves to address domestic violence as a workplace issue.

This Entry is about (Issues)

Sustainability

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How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate?

We heard of this contest from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and from Ashoka. We received two separate e-mails from Ashoka asking us to participate.

Main Obstacles to Scaling Up

1) The business case/human face - We call this the "ick factor." Businesses are uncomfortable with the idea that domestic violence is impacting their workforce -- although they certainly recognize it impacts society in general. We work hard to help them understand the business case in terms of "enlightened self interest" -- and how they can be proactive in retaining good employees and perhaps preventing some costs associated with productivity, turnover, absenteeism, presenteesim, healthcare and workplace safety. Ultimately, it is in their enlightened self-interest to do so.
2) Cutting through the noise - businesses have many important priorities, and helping them understand how addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue will actually save them time and money in the long run is a challenge, since it does require some "scaling up" time on the front end.

Main Financial Challenges

Our main financial challenges are trying to make domestic violence programs a standard of practice in US businesses while trying to finance our ability to make the case to do so. In other words, we require funding to be able to help businesses create the infrastructure to help their employees, but we also want to reach as many businesses as possible by making our resources as accessible as possible.

We are currently funded almost exclusively by the companies that are part of our Alliance, and hope that more will join us in these efforts. If we were to have a large foundation as a funder, we would be able to do more outreach of our model and assist more employers in making intimate partner violence "everybody's business."

Main Partnership Challenges

Our major challenge is engaging corporate partners in this mission to make intimate partner violence "everybody's business. While some may be ready to do so as an "external program" reaching out into broader communities, they are not always ready to take on both components -- reaching out to partner with community organizations that are helping families in need of help and also seeking to assist their own employees, recognizing that if domestic violence takes place in society, it certainly comes to work.