“Violence at Home. Victims at Work. Employers Confront Domestic Violence” is a comprehensive training and awareness initiative to engage local business leaders and equip employers to deal with co-workers and employees with compassion and information when intimate partner violence occurs. We seek to multiply ways victims of domestic violence can connect with appropriate assistance – saving lives and jobs while protecting employers from the risks and liabilities that come when employees are terrorized at home and at work.

We are ready to assist at your workplace — be that a school, a house of worship, a clinic, factory, office, restaurant, hotel – anywhere.

The Memphis Area Women’s Council shows business owners and other employers that they have an important role in recognizing and confronting domestic violence and in helping victims — their employees — become safe. Conferring with an advisory group of business owners and human resource specialists, we began in 2012 to develop materials and a curriculum to make information on the need, risks, reasons to be pro-active and ways to respond compelling to local employers of any size and type.

The Council also has fostered formation of the Memphis Employers Alliance against Domestic Violence to advise and expand the outreach program.

The Memphis Area Women’s Council focus on women’s health has centered on violence against women since our founding in 2003, due to the epidemic rates in Memphis and Shelby County. More than half of all violent crime locally is related to domestic violence. Memphis police respond to more than 20,000 domestic violence incidents each year; our domestic violence court sees 140-170 cases each day.

Our work focuses on intimate partner violence which is the largest portion of DV cases and is documented as the most lethal. Our community has seen repeated episodes of a woman being murdered at her workplace by a current or former husband or boyfriend. It is also apparent that most women who are murdered by their partners are employees, so it follows that their workplaces potentially could have become aware of their distress and connected them to community support and services. Nurses, teachers and retail workers are especially at risk, data show. Local crime data show that DV homicides are between 12% and 17% of all homicides.

Domestic violence, sexual assault and human sex trafficking cost Tennessee approximately $886.1 billion or more annually, according to research by the Tennessee Economic Council on Women in 2013. Our local research showed an estimated $10,230,000 spent in Shelby County in support of specific work related to domestic and sexual violence by local social service agencies. Millions more is spent in tax dollars for law enforcement, courts, prosecution, prisons, health care payments, lost wages, workplace expenses and inefficiency. Employers have pocket-book reasons to care and act.

Nearly 1,000 managers, employers and supervisors representing more than 100 places of work have attended a Women’s Council workshop or half-day conference since the Council began the project in 2013. Others have asked us to come to their workplace or association meeting to present to their personnel and colleagues.

The Women’s Council has expertise in violence against women, dynamics of intimate partner violence and the concerns and priorities of business managers. The workshops and conference are presented and organized by Deborah M. Clubb, executive director, and Dr. Carol Danehower, associate professor of management at the University of Memphis Fogelman School of Business and Economics and MAWC board president.

Deborah is an award-winning advocate for women and survivors of violence and a graduate of the Advocacy Learning Center, a national training program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and was on staff at The Commercial Appeal from 1978 to 2003. She joined the Women’s Council as executive director in 2014. She serves on the Memphis Sexual Assault Kit Task Force and coordinates the Memphis Says NO MORE campaign.

Carol’s specialty in business management is human resources and her research focuses on the impact of domestic violence in the workplace, career progression of women and women entrepreneurs. She has been an administrator and faculty member at UM for over 25 years. She earned her doctorate in business administration from the University of Kentucky.

Long-term, by deepening understanding of domestic violence and the role we can each play in addressing it, Shelby County will see growing numbers of employers and employees sensitized to the need to stop domestic crime, to report and prosecute DV and assure that systems make victims safe.

To discuss a presentation, speaker, workshop or awareness program, contact Deborah Clubb at dclubb@memphiswomen.org or 901-378-3866.