Western Acknowledged for Domestic Violence Training

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Last week, Western University was awarded the Neighbors, Friends and Families Workplace Champions certificate for educating its employees about domestic violence.

The ceremony honored workplaces that have committed to educating their employees to recognize, respond to, and refer in situations of domestic violence and woman abuse. About 3,500 Western faculty members and staff went through the domestic violence training. Western was among the 132 workplaces in Ontario honored in 2012, one of a total of 431 Neighbors, Friends and Families Workplace Champions. Distinguished guests, such as Minister Chris Bentley, were in attendance at the ceremony.

The Neighbors, Friends and Families (NFF) at Work training program and the new Make It Our Business resources provide employers with a systematic program that allows them to take “reasonable precautions” to prevent and respond to domestic violence in the workplace in light of new Ontario Occupational Health and Safety legislation (Bill 168). The evolution of the NFF workplace strategy is an excellent example of grassroots innovation that is aligned with, and supported by, Ontario Government priorities. The NFF brochures are also part of the new on-line training that every employee will have to complete.

Barb MacQuarrie (Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women), Elgin Austin (Chief of Campus Police), and Larissa Bartlett (Western Equity Services) received the award (above. MacQuarrie believes that the training will have significant impact on the Western community. “The training will help to create a culture of safety and support. Employees who experience abuse and their colleagues and co-workers have received a clear message that Western takes domestic violence seriously and the university is prepared to use the resources we have to provide support.”

MaQuarrie also noticed “a strengthening of relationships between the people and the resources who will have responsibility for addressing domestic violence on campus and our Centre.” Such strengthened relationships include thos between employees and administration. “Employees who are experiencing domestic violence will not experience negative reprisals for disclosing what is happening to them. The message comes from the top level of administrators and the commitment is institution wide.”

For more information, please visit the Neighbours, Friends and Families website www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca, and the Make It Our Business website, www.makeitourbusiness.com.

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