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District Attorney offers domestic violence seminar

NORTHAMPTON — Domestic violence is a serious problem that can have a profound impact on businesses. This is why the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office is joining with area business groups to offer two 3-hour conferences on What Employers Can Do To Protect Your Business and Your Employees.

The conference is intended for business owners, supervisors, employee representatives and assistance officers, human resource officers, security and union stewards and will be held Wednesday April 9, 2014, 8-11 a.m. at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield and Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 8-11 a.m. at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Northampton. The fee for each is $10.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that domestic violence costs American employers between $3 billion to $5 billion in productivity every year. Another $100 million is lost in paid sick leave, absenteeism and other costs. Victims of domestic violence incur an estimated $1,775 in annual medical costs, according to the CDC.

Meanwhile, a majority of perpetrators of domestic violence report using workplace resources to threaten their victims, contact their victims’ workplaces and also report having difficulties working, according to a study by Employers Against Domestic Violence, a Massachusetts-based non-profit group linking employers and domestic violence experts.

“We all have to step up to stop domestic violence and protect victims,” Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said. “It is not only a moral imperative, it is sound workplace policy and practice.”

Mary Kociela, director of programs for the NWDA’s Domestic Violence and Adult Sexual Assault Unit, said “Domestic violence happens with such frequency that it’s very likely that a business owner will employ a victim, offender or both at some time.”

“The cost to employers can be great when you consider a victim’s potential need for increased medical care and time off for court dates etc,” Kociela said. “Understanding the related safety and legal issues can ease the burden on supervisors and human resource staff and help to create a safe work environment.”

For more information, visit the Employers Against Domestic Violence website at:

http://employersagainstdomesticviolence.org/

or contact Mary Kociela at mary.a.kociela@state.ma.us, or 413- 774-3186, ext. 5904.

Sponsors include the Franklin County and Greater Northampton Chambers of Commerce with the Amherst Area, Greater Easthampton, North Quabbin, Quaboag Hills, South Hadley & Granby Chambers of Commerce.

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