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Shooting: Example Of Domestic Violence At Work

September 14, 2012, 5:11 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Shooting: Example Of Domestic Violence At Work

The Cost Cutters shooting in Sioux Falls this week was sparked by a case of domestic violence that led 38-year-old Tyrone Smith to show up at the salon where his ex-girlfriend worked with a gun.

Amanda Connors, the manager of the store, was tragically caught in the middle and shot and killed by Smith. That's why experts say employers need to keep an eye out for employees who may be victims of domestic abuse.

One in four women have been a victim of domestic violence in the United States and statistics say that 96 percent of them have experienced problems at work because of their abuser.

"Domestic violence just doesn't happen behind closed doors it affects the victim and the abuser's entire life. So, if the victim has to go to work every day a lot of times the abuser also wants that power and control," Kathy Rutten with the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault said.

Smith was arrested for choking his girlfriend two days before he showed up with a gun at the Cost Cutters where she worked.

Rutten says it's not uncommon for abusers to show up where their victim works.

"It's power, control and they'll use it whether they do it emotionally, physically, and mentally. They use every tool they can to maintain power and control over their victim," Rutten said.

Rutten says employers need to watch for signs of domestic violence in their employees. Obvious signs can be watching for bruises, or employees who are trying to cover them up, but other signs can be repeated phone calls and visits from a partner at work. If employers start to notice those signs they should talk to their employee and make them feel safe.

"The employer can create a culture of safety, that it's okay to disclose and then to support the victim,” Rutten said.

Because in nearly all cases statistics show that the violence doesn't end when the victim shows up at work.

Rutten says being understanding of victims who may need to miss work because of their abuse and creating that culture where it is safe to talk about the violence is also crucial.

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