A new law is now in effect requiring employers to display a poster in the workplace that provides resource information for domestic violence victims to get help. The poster was recently unveiled at a news conference in Yakima. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.
SATTGAST: According to the state Department of Health, 41 percent of women and 32 percent of men in Washington state have been victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. And more than 560 Washingtonians were killed over a 10-year period – the result of intimate partner violence.
MOSBRUCKER: “In my district, we’ve had women beat to death with a baseball bat. We’ve had infants laying next to their mother who was shot by a domestic partner. And we’ve also had a woman recently burned to death after years of domestic violence.”
SATTGAST: That’s 14th District State Representative Gina Mosbrucker of Goldendale. She’s the prime sponsor of legislation that passed during the 2019 session which requires information about domestic violence be provided in the workplace. Why the workplace? Because Mosbrucker says it’s the only safe place of escape from the abuser.
MOSBRUCKER: “They couldn’t go to their mother’s house. They couldn’t go to their friends’ house because then you would see – somebody could tell. You could tell. Somebody could see the bruises. So what we’ve learned is that the one place they get to go is to work – and it’s because they want them to help pay rent.”
SATTGAST: On Friday at the YWCA in Yakima, Mosbrucker and Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine unveiled the new workplace poster. Along with phone numbers and a website for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Washington Domestic Violence Coalition, it includes a blank spot where employers can add information about local services. While there is no penalty for failing to display the poster, LeVine thinks most businesses are likely to comply because domestic violence also affects workplace productivity.
LeVINE: “We all need to work together to make sure that survivors of domestic violence are able to find the help that they need so that they can escape the dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations that they face.”
SATTGAST: The poster is available for download from Employment Security’s website. Mosbrucker hopes victims will see it and make the call so that they can get the help they need to escape and save their lives. John Sattgast, Olympia.