Employee Assistance Programs: A Workplace Resource to Address Intimate Partner Violence

Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205-1996, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 2.05). 03/2010; 19(4):729-33. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1495
Source: PubMed


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health problem with significant impact on the workplace. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are a confidential benefit to assist employees and their families with a variety of problems that may negatively affect their job performance. The purpose of this systematic review is to study the extant literature to identify articles that have explored the role of EAPs in addressing IPV.
We searched Medline, PsychINFO, and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) for English-language papers that have explored how EAPs can address IPV. Articles published through 2008 were included.
Our review yielded nine articles, mostly from EAP-centered journals. Nearly all of the studies were published before the year 2000 and primarily describe the need for EAPs to be more engaged in preventing violence against women. Most of the studies were commentaries, often using case reports to support recommendations on how EAPs could address IPV. Results from the two intervention studies revealed close connections between EAP clients being treated for alcoholism and IPV perpetration and the effectiveness of a standardized tool to identify EAP clients experiencing IPV.
Research in this area is in its infancy, and more studies are needed to inform the formulation of evidence-based policies and programs that guide the role of EAPs in addressing IPV. The lack of research on how EAPs address IPV is alarming, as many employers state that they often refer employees affected by IPV to the EAP for assistance.

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    • "These shortcomings have " direct consequences for women's safety and well-being " (Allen et al. 2004, p. 1016). Some workplaces have created provisions such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and flexible work schedules, yet there is little research on how EAPs respond to IPV (Pollack et al. 2010). With the high costs of IPV to employers in terms of medical expenses, turnover, lost productivity , and absenteeism, workplaces may choose to address the issue by terminating women's employment rather than implementing supportive policy and programs (Moe and Bell 2004; Perrin et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: A community-based research (CBR) study was carried out with single mothers who had left abusive relationships in order to better understand their experiences of finding a sustainable livelihood after experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Using the photovoice method and guided by the Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) framework, participants took photographs representing their experiences of violence through their transition to single motherhood and beyond. The findings reported through their photos and stories reveal an often long and arduous journey amidst the complexity of single parenting and the effects of violence. As with many people living on a low income, they incorporated creative strategies to survive and enhance their own and their children’s quality of life. Important areas for change are suggested through aspects of the SL framework and primary prevention.
    Journal of Family Violence 05/2015; 30(4):403-417. DOI:10.1007/s10896-015-9686-x · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    • "Such interventions may also be tailored differently for male and female supervisors since male supervisors in this study reported concern of being perceived as sexually harassing the employee if they intervened to support and female supervisors in this study and in the general population have a higher likelihood of having personal experiences with IPV. Similarly, employee assistance programs, which, in fact, have not yet been demonstrated as being effective in addressing IPV in the workplace [35], were not considered to be as useful as simple lists of local IPV resources for supervisors in small business in this study. "
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    ABSTRACT: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant global public health concern, affecting 5.3 million US individuals annually. An estimated 1 in 3 women globally are abused by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and the effects carry over into the workplace. This article examines employers' perceptions of IPV in the workplace, targeting supervisors of Latina employees. Fourteen employers and supervisors of small service-sector companies in Oregon were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. Interpretive description was used to identify themes. These qualitative interviews preceded and helped to formulate a larger workplace intervention study. THE FOLLOWING THEMES WERE FOUND AND ARE DETAILED: (1) factors associated with recognizing IPV in the workplace, (2) effects of IPV on the work environment and (3) supervisors' responses to IPV-active vs. passive involvement. Also, supervisors' suggestions for addressing IPV in the workplace are summarized. These findings demonstrate the need for more IPV-related resources in the workplace to be available to supervisors as well as survivors and their coworkers. The needs of supervisors and workplaces vary by site, demonstrating the need for tailored interventions, and culturally appropriate workplace interventions are needed for Latinas and other racially and ethnically diverse populations.
    Safety and Health at Work 09/2011; 2(3):250-9. DOI:10.5491/SHAW.2011.2.3.250
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    ABSTRACT: To describe intimate partner violence (IPV) services available through employee assistance programs (EAPs) and determine women's satisfaction with these services. A mixed-methods study consisting of semistructured telephone interviews with 28 EAPs about IPV-related services and a national web-based survey of 1765 women regarding their interactions with EAPs when seeking IPV-related assistance. Data were collected in the fall of 2008. EAPs provide fairly extensive services to individuals experiencing IPV. Satisfaction with EAP services for IPV was significantly associated with annual income and the type of help received from the EAP, but not with type of IPV experienced. EAP representatives described challenges with accurately identifying IPV victims and women expressed concerns with confidentiality. Future efforts to enhance the ability of EAPs to respond effectively to IPV should address confidentially and strengthen how IPV-related assistance is delivered.
    Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 08/2010; 52(8):819-26. DOI:10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181ebada6 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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