UNIVERSITY PARK – Domestic violence, often described as a silent epidemic, can affect victims at work as well as at home. To address this growing concern, Penn State will develop a comprehensive domestic violence educational program — funded by a $300,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation — for University employees and students at all Penn State campuses.
Penn State Public Broadcasting will lead the initiative through the development of “The Penn State Community at Work: Workplace Responses to Domestic Violence.” This multi-media project will include an on-line training package and DVD produced by PSPB with the help of Centre County Women’s Resource Center’s training expertise. The projected rollout date for the program is fall 2007.
“This program will provide all Penn State employees and students with accurate and helpful information about the dynamics of domestic violence and the resources available to assist victims,” said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier. “Verizon’s commitment to this national issue will allow Penn State’s initiative to serve as a model for other institutions of higher education within the state and nationwide in the fight against domestic violence.”
A study of domestic violence survivors by the Family Violence Prevention Fund found that 74 percent of employed battered women were harassed by their partners while at work. With more than one million people reporting a violent assault by an intimate partner every year in the United States, domestic violence in the workplace is becoming a greater concern for every employer.
“With more than 5,000 cases of workplace violence reported every day in the United States, major employers like Verizon have an obligation to help develop solutions for this critical societal issue,” said Dan Mead, president of Verizon Services Corp. “For more than a decade, Verizon has worked to raise awareness and promote prevention by leveraging communications technologies for education and implementing philanthropic initiatives like HopeLine to engage our employees and customers in this important social cause.”
Mead continued, “I am proud that Verizon is partnering with my alma mater to increase awareness and education about domestic violence on campuses throughout the commonwealth as this project carries personal importance because it evolved out of a domestic violence-related death of a Verizon employee.”
Central to the project is a three-hour workshop consisting of three modules:
* The Dynamics of Domestic Violence will provide basic information about the dynamics of domestic violence, including the power and control wheel and the cycle of violence.
* A video case study of a recent domestic violence homicide in Centre County, presented by State College Police Detective Deirdri Fishel using live action vignettes. This example of domestic violence occurred in Centre County in the context of the victim’s workplace.
* Workplace Responses is designed to address the specific issues relevant to the workplace with regard to domestic violence – specifically, what employers and co-workers can do to provide assistance.
“Penn State Public Broadcasting is proud to be part of such a meaningful project,” said Ted Krichels, associate vice president for Outreach at Penn State and general manager of Penn State Public Broadcasting. “We believe that this critical project has the potential to reach a wide audience and create a greater understanding of domestic violence.”
In addition to the workshop, the project will include an interactive Web site containing key information from the workshop about the dynamics of domestic and relationship violence and will provide updated information about University and community resources available.
“The facts of domestic violence are shocking and are at the heart of Verizon’s commitment to help make a difference in the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” said William B. Petersen, president of Verizon Pennsylvania. “We believe this partnership with Penn State University will broaden the reach and impact of our efforts in domestic violence to break the cycle of violence and create something of lasting value in our communities.”
According to Anne Ard, executive director of CCWRC, most people are not aware that every three days, a citizen of Pennsylvania loses his or her life to domestic violence. “In fact last year, 122 domestic violence incidents in Pennsylvania resulted in the death of 130 victims – 79 were females 18 years of age or older and 33 were males were age 18 years of age or older. Through this partnership we hope to enhance the community’s understanding of domestic and relationship violence and the ways co-workers and colleagues can appropriately respond to those who are victims.”