Personal Assistance Service (PAS) | 2200 West Main Street | Erwin Square Tower | 4th Floor, Suite 400A | Durham, NC 27705 | 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727)

Violence in the Workplace

Important Contacts

In the event of an emergency, the Duke Emergency Web Site will be updated frequently with instructions and information about the incident, as well as campus services and resources available to the Duke community.

Potential Relationship Violence

Relationship violence has shown an alarming rate of occurrence in the workplace. Studies suggest that approximately 25 percent of women and 7 percent of men reported that they had been assaulted by a current or former partner. It is estimated that 18,700 incidents of workplace violence in the U. S. per year are related to relationship violence. Victims may feel safer at work but may be harassed at work by frequent phone calls, emails or unannounced work visits from partners.

Signs of Potential Relationship Violence
  • Emotional episodes of anxiousness, crying, depressed mood
  • Over-reactions to stimuli
  • Excessively leaving work early, being late or missing entire days of work
  • Excessive phone calls or emails from family
  • Poor memory, concentration, and judgment
  • Unannounced and disruptive personal visits from partner
  • Fluctuating work performance
  • Signs of stress such as heart palpitations, hyperventilating, excessive tiredness, panic attacks
  • Visible signs of injury
  • Observed as a loner, isolating from peers and social activities
Supervisors: Be prepared for the conversation when you suspect relationship violence.
  • Keep information that a victim of domestic violence shares with you confidential; share only on a need to know basis.
  • Encourage the employee to speak with PAS (416-1727) and provide a private office and telephone for them to use if they wish to contact PAS. Suggest to the employee that it may be helpful to provide a picture of the abuser and a copy of any paperwork to the Duke Police 684-2444 and any other appropriate Police agency.
  • Encourage the employee to let you know in advance if he or she can't meet a deadline or is unable to handle a specific assignment due to personal safety concerns (i.e., answering the telephone when there is the possibility an abuser will call at work). By temporarily adjusting work assignments you demonstrate your support and may avoid a potential performance problem.
  • Be as flexible as possible in accommodating the employee's needs for leave or work schedule adjustments.
  • If the employee needs to relocate for safety reasons, discuss the situation with your HR representative to determine what assistance may be available to help the employee identify alternate employment.


Special acknowledgement to the University of Washington's HR web site on Violence Prevention for use of some material.