Gov. Lowry signs Executive Order on domestic violence in the workplace

OLYMPIA - Proclaiming domestic violence an epidemic in the workplace as well as at home, Gov. Mike Lowry today signed an executive order directing state agencies to adopt a personnel policy on domestic violence in the workplace.

"I want Washington to be a leader in breaking the silence on this issue and to begin to address the problem openly so we can help those state employees who carry the burden of abuse from home to work every day," Lowry said. "Domestic violence is not just a private matter, it is a major factor in the loss of productivity, use of medical benefits and is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace."

Flanked by Attorney General Christine Gregoire, Supreme Court Justice Barbara Durham and other elected officials, Lowry proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in Washington and announced a multi-pronged approach to tackling the problem.

Personnel Policy
Executive Order 96-05 directs executive agencies to adopt and implement personnel policies that:

Public Education
The Governor's Office will:

Budget and Policy Initiatives
Lowry has instructed:

In addition to directing executive agencies to adopt a model personnel policy on domestic violence in the workplace, the governor has adopted the policy for his own office.

While the extent of domestic violence in Washington is not fully known, it is the leading cause of on-the-job deaths among women nationally. In 1992, nearly 20 percent of women killed in the workplace were murdered by an intimate partner, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A woman is abused by her partner every nine seconds in the United States, according to the 1993 National Health Survey of American Women.

State legislation passed last year mandated that the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs begin collecting data on domestic violence arrests in the state. Between July and December of 1995, there were 20,205 domestic violence-related crimes in the state, including 28 percent of all homicides.

The state Department of Social and Health Services reported that in 1993, the last year for which statistics are available, 16,508 new victims were served by domestic violence programs receiving agency funding. Victims required a total of 91,142 bednights from these programs.

"Statistical evidence shows us that 95 percent of domestic violence is perpetrated by men on women, and there are no obvious characteristics that distinguish women in abusive relationships from women in non-abusive relationships," Lowry said. "This is clearly an epidemic problem in society in general and a discouraging factor for women in the workforce."

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For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.

Text of Executive Order 96-05
Governor's Office policy on domestic violence in the workplace
Schedule of domestic violence awareness events in October