- Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented a policy to protect city employees who are victims or survivors of domestic abuse, stalking and sexual assault. It took effect on Jan. 1.
- The policy creates a workplace safety and support plan, designates an agency point-of-contact for victims and survivors, ensures confidentiality, offers protections against employer discrimination or retaliation and outlines workplace-specific signs of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
- The policy will lead to increased training for DC government employees and will better equip employees to identify suspected abuse and direct victims and survivors to support resources.
While domestic violence might not be the most talked about issue compared to gun violence or overall crime — both of which were down nationwide in 2018 — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says domestic abuse is widespread. The CDC estimates about 25% of women and 11% of men were victims of domestic violence, including physical, sexual and/or stalking abuses.
The DC government is leading by example by publicly recognizing the problem domestic violence presents and implementing a policy for city employees. It sends a clear message that domestic violence in all its forms will not be tolerated against its employees, nor will it be acceptable within the greater community.
Even more so, the policy requires better and more visible resources for victims and survivors of the different forms of domestic abuse. Victims often report feeling unseen and don't feel like they have adequate resources or escape options. The city touts its policy as being "victim/survivor-centered" because it puts the primary focus on victims' and survivors' safety and well-being.
"With this policy, we are taking another step to ensure that DC government is a place where all employees feel supported and safe," Bowser said in a statement.