In an ongoing effort to reduce domestic violence, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) has developed a training program for local businesses to help employers recognize the warning signs of someone suffering abuse.
SDPD Lt. Misty Cedrun oversees the Family Justice Center in downtown San Diego, located at 1112 Broadway, which helps provide support for victims of domestic violence and their children.
This year, Cedrun began working with local businesses by developing a comprehensive training program that hones in on the signs of someone involved in an abusive relationship. The hope is that managers will use the program to help employees impacted by domestic violence.
“We started to see domestic violence isn't going away. What piece were we missing? Incarceration and crisis intervention – those two things alone were not solving the problem,” said Cedrun. “We're not suggesting corporate San Diego solve domestic violence. We're simply saying get educated find out what the resources are in your community, where you can send your employees for help.”
Cedrun says most workplaces do not have active policies or programs to recognize signs of domestic violence, and first-line supervisors are crucial to identifying potential problems.
"Some of the very basic things employers can do is just putting up a poster in a break room or restroom or locker room. That's a start," she explained.
Cedrun's project has led Qualcomm – the wireless technology company that employs approximately 15,000 people in San Diego and 30,000 around the world – to take a more focused approach to addressing the issue.
“We think it's our responsibility to be in the forefront and to be leaders in this area as well,” said Jim Bird, Qualcomm Senior Manager of Global Security.
Bird said Qualcomm wants to help employees who may be in an abusive relationship, and protect its other employees as well.
“One of the classic problems we have is if there's an abusive situation and one of the partners leaves to get away from the abuser. That person might not know where he or she lives, but that person knows where she works,” explained Bird, who is also a retired FBI agent.
“And if he can't find her any other way, he might come to the workplace. So it's not a personal issue, it's a business issue because that person might show up on our campus. Maybe to harm that person, and maybe to harm other employees as well,” he added.
Cedrun said businesses lose millions of dollars every year because of domestic violence. Employees who have problems at home often bring those issues into the office, where they are sometimes less productive, or may often call out sick.
In 2014, the SDPD responded to about 22,000 domestic violence calls and investigated more than 7,300 domestic violence cases. Even with those numbers, Cedrun said a considerable amount of domestic violence cases are not reported to police.
At least 12 domestic violence cases in San Diego County ended in homicide in 2014. Six of those cases happened outside of the workplace.
The Family Justice Center is one option for locals dealing with domestic violence.
The SDPD runs the center and partners with the District Attorney's Office, the City Attorney's Office and Children's Services to keep it operating.
The center also provides a military liaison for active-duty service members who need help, along with an immigration attorney and representatives from Rady Children's Hospital.
Among other services offered at the Family Justice Center:
- Counselors who can conduct risk assessments and provide therapy for adults, children and families.
- Family law attorneys who can help victims with legal advice or obtain a temporary restraining order.
- A career center with resources to help people find jobs and get their careers back on track.
- A Dress For Success area with professional suits, shoes and jewelry to wear for job interviews.
All of the services are free and confidential. For more information about the Family Justice Center, or to request a free training session from the SDPD on addressing domestic violence in the workplace, call (619) 533-6000. You can also learn more about the center on this website.