OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Stalking in the Workplace
Rebecca Dreke, Michael Proctor  -  2010/1/19
Is there any way to view a copy of Mr. Proctor's protocol for law enforcement?
1.  Michael Proctor
 Nikki, please go to my website e-mail, mike@www.detectivemikeproctor.com and I will be more than happy to discuss how I can get the CD to the law enforcement entities you wish. Mike.
2.  Michael Proctor
 LaWann, please go to my website e-mail, mike@detectivemikeproctor.com and I will be glad to talk further as to your needs.
3.  Nikki
 Thx for the response. How can we direct prosecutor's or LE in obtaining this protocol?
4.  LaWann Moses
 Is this protocol available to victim service personnel of law enforcment or D.A.'s offices? Also, is there anything along the line of your protocol available to other Victim Services personnel?
5.  Michael Proctor
 In response to your question, that particular protocol only goes out to law enforcement, D.A.'s, or certain legislators. The reason being is it contains certain items that are designed specifically for them.
What can a DV provider do (as a workplace) to keep abusers from stalking their victims - especially concerned about internet searches on hotline phone numbers that reveal geographical location.
1.  Michael Proctor
 Carlla, first of all my hat is off to you for being in your field we need more people doing what you do. In regard to the first part of your question...as a provider, we always suggest you coordinate with local law enforcement concerning your victim's issues. At the workplace, your client needs to notify staff that she has an issue. She needs to check to see if there is a workplace violence policy in place, if so activate it. She should keep a copy of her restraining or protective order with her at all times so that local law enforcement can see it and enforce it. If her company has a call out for a corporate restraining order she should urge that they get one against her stalker. Security has to be in the loop as well as the business reception staff. All packages coming into or for your victim need to monitored as to was the package expected, was it mailed or just dropped off. A safety plan should be in place concerning where her vehicle is parked and how she gets to and from her worksite. As to the second part of your question...hopefully you have a law enforcement entity with a forensic computer staff that can backtrack computer issues as they develop. Many agencies have or are in the process of developing these units due to all the cybercrimes out there. On your part,having up to date virus protection is a must to prevent spyware, and other intrusive things from intercepting information.
Do you have any suggestions for how a stalking victim can approach their employer with their safety concerns? Some victims may feel ashamed or embarassed and as a result could be hesitant to share their concerns with an employer.
1.  Michael Proctor
 Cathy, good question. This is again, another reason for a company to have a well-thought out workplace violence policy that all employees are aware of. I always advise those that are developing these protocols to include a section close to the top of the docuement that addresses the concerns of privacy issues. The statement should include things like we understand you might feel hesitant to bring your problem to us, etc., etc. But that having the information about your situation is much better than not having any forewarning about a problem that could lead to violence or worse. The employee should know that their privacy will be protected as much as possible within the confines of the companies security issues, and that evaluating their circumstance is not what the company is about.
2.  Rebecca Dreke
 Thanks for the question. I completely agree that it is possibly difficult for a stalking victim to discuss the details or her or his stalking case to an employer, but sometimes absolutely necessary for their safety. Most companies and organizations have an HR person who might be a good person to start with, as they should be used to dealing with personal and sensitive human relations issues. If the victim has an order for protection, they might want to let their employer know that the offender is not to be allowed near the workplace. Also, having the victim reach out to an advocate at a local organization could help herhim decide how they want to discuss the issue as well. For assistance with locating an advocate and to discuss through these issues, please call 1-800-FYI-CALL or visit www.ncvc.org.
Is there any training available that we can offer our administrative/reception staff for handling potential spousal stalking? We do not employ private security and want to ensure the safety of all our staff, not only the individual being stalked.
1.  Rebecca Dreke
 ASIS International does have some great resources and the SRC would also recommend the great work done by Eugene Rugala done on this issue. A copy of one of his presentation power points is available at: https://www.asisonline.org/foundation/stalking.ppt
2.  Michael Ossler
 American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) has useful information for dealing with workplace security.
3.  Michael Proctor
 Maryanne, we would hope that your local law enforcement body would be able to supply that type of training, but if that is not the case, there are protocols security suggestions that are available by typing in Workplace Violence Prevention on the Internet. The F.B.I. has one that covers stalking in the workplace. I would also suggest that you contact law enforcement and provide them with any information concerning any type of spousal stalking that may be an issue for you and your staff. This way they will have a heads up on the problem instead of just rolling to your business with no background. Make sure if there are protection orders in place you have a copy of same to show responding officers. Look into getting a corporate restraining order against any stalker, DV or otherwise that prevents he or she...in theory...from coming onto your grounds. Obtain a photo of the stalker and description of vehicle(s) he may have. Make sure reception is aware of the problem so that that individual can notify police A.S.A.P. if the individual comes to your place of business. Lastly, I would be suspicious of any packaging that is delivered to your victim; especially if it has no return address, has not been actually mailed, or is not something that you or she was expecting or requested.
Do you have any recommendations as to sharing information with our staff regarding an individual's situation without violating their privacy? We want to protect the privacy of employees, but not at the risk of the rest of our other staff.
1.  Michael Proctor
 J. One should always discuss what security process is going to take place with the victim, and not everyone has to know about what has transpired in the stalking scenario, but threat assessment should always come into play when dealing with anyone that can be a threat to employee's safety. Security, if you have any, and especially reception should be provided with a photo...if available...description of vehicle(s)...the subject may be driving at the very least so they can notify police if he or she comes to the workplace. Reception should be aware of packages being sent to the victim. Was this package expected, was it sent by mail or dropped off. You also need to have copies of any restraining orders at your place of work to show responding law enforcement. So the basic answer is you need enough to protect the victim and her coworkers, but you don't need to tell everyone about the extent of her problems.
2.  Rebecca Dreke
 Great question. Consider discussing the situation further with the victim and working with her/him first to figure out the best safety plans. Ask the victim what information they feel comfortable sharing and let them know that you are willing to work with them to ensure a safe workplace for all employees. Be sure to consider what information is necessary for all staff to know - for example, it may be sufficient to provide a picture of the offender/stalker and let all employees know that if they are seen at the workplace, the police should be called. The private details of the case wouldn't be necessary to share with all employees. Also, direct administrative staff to not accept phone calls from the offender. If the offender emails, save and document the emails.
Are there any laws (State or Federal) that make it mandatory for a business to have a protocol in place for the safety of their employees?
1.  Michael Proctor
 Cheryl, as far as I am aware there are no manditory workplace violence policies in place Federally, but I am still checking. Under the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration statements, it addresses the fact that Federal employees must be provided a safe workplace, which of course would tend to indicate that violence in the workplace would be one of the things that are looked at. I am pretty sure that Canada passed a law in May of 2008 entitled the Violence Prevention in the Workplace Regulations that addresses manditory workplace violence issues. Many states have state generated workplace violence policy examples that can be adopted by municipal governmental groups as well as businesses.
2.  Karin
 In Ohio, Governor Strickland established an Executive Order mandating that all state agencies implement policy and training related specifically to domestic violence in the workplace. We have included stalking in this as it was incorporated within our Department of Corrections and I'm aware most agencies are planning to include stalking as well.
Are you aware of any statistics that compare rates of spousal/partner stalking versus stalking by a coworker?
1.  Michael Proctor
 Sara, you have asked a tough question. There are a variety of stalking statistics out their concerning intimate partner stalking situations which would cover your side of the question on spousal parnter stalking...just go on the Internet and click on Intimate Partner stalking and get a bunch of studies. As to the question of spousal/partner stalking coming onto the workplace stats, I looked and could not find any. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) may have them buried in all their data, but it is like anything else - if your data collector is not factoring in those exact terms then they don't pop-up. It has also been my experience that oftentimes the statistics that are found are not fresh. Hopefully, Rebecca has better luck than I did in getting you a response.
2.  Rebecca Dreke
 No specific studies are coming to mind, but I will do some research and post again if I find any studies. Please also feel free to email src@ncvc.org to follow up.
Are there any guidelines available to help us develop a stalking response protocol?
1.  Michael Proctor
 Shaun, there are several protocols/examples that you can find such as one generated by the USDA, NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), along with one developed by the F.B.I. all by typing into your web browser Workplace Violence Prevention and clicking. These should give you some pretty good ideas on what it takes to develop a workplace violence policy.
2.  Rebecca Dreke
 Here is a link to a document outlining how to create an effective stalking protocol. Although this is directed towards law enforcement, you might find it beneficial: http://www.ncvc.org/src/AGP.Net/Components/DocumentViewer/Download.aspxnz?DocumentID=37604
3.  Rebecca Dreke
 Thanks so much for the question - the Stalking Resource Center would be happy to discuss the development of a stalking response protocol with you. Please do check out the resources on our websites: www.ncvc.org/src and www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org and feel free to email us at SRC@ncvc.org so that we could provide you with sample protocols.
Which gender is more likely to be stalked in the workplace?
1.  Michael Proctor
 In the majority of workplace violence stalking scenario's it is an intimate partner coming onto the grounds of the workplace to stalk. Therefore, it is usually woman that are stalked more, but it does depend on the type of stalker involved. In other words, if it is a co-worker who is out for revenge due to job loss or some other type of confrontation, it could be male on male as well. We have also seen same gender stalkings that take place at the workplace. So there is truly a variety of stalkings that take place in a workplace setting.
Have state laws kept abreast/evolved enough to keep up with stalking in the workplace?
1.  Michael Proctor
 John, since the early 90's all 50 states and many European countries have developed stalking laws. Obviously, some work better than others. Workplace Violence and stalking in the workplace is being addressed more and more throughout the U.S. and abroad. Once a workplace violence protocol is in place, the stalking laws that are on the books can easily be utilized. However, it is up to the individual employer to develop his or her own workplace violence policy.
Are there any specific safety measures that an employer can put into place to protect employees that are victims of stalking?
1.  Rebecca Dreke
 Employees that are victims of stalking may be very concerned for their safety while at work, so encouraging those victims to keep a copy of any protective orders at work is a good idea. Give a picture of the stalking offender to the administrative or front-door staff and to any security guards with clear instructions to call the police if that offender is at the workplace. If the stalking offender calls the victim at work, or contacts them through email, encourage the victim to save and document the messages. Additionally, consider the adoption of a workplace stalking protocol. For more assistance with this, please email src@ncvc.org
2.  Michael Proctor
 La Wann, we encourage employers to develope a workplace violence policy so that there is a step by step procedure to follow when any kind of episode transpires. That being said, here are some of the things we suggest. Make sure that all incidents of workplace violence/stalking are reported. Notify security of any problems that may be of concern. Provide them with a description of both the individual and the vehicle he may be driving if it is an offsite person coming onto the workplace. Notify your companies' H.R. group of any issues you are having and make sure it is documented; keep copies of all reported incidents. Make sure you develop a clear escape route from your workspace to a place of safety. There are several Internet sites that can be found by just typing in Workplace Violence Prevention that will also give you and your employer examples of protocols that can be easily adopted.
What would be the protocol to get the school sytem involved with stalking awareness?
1.  Michael Proctor
 Kim,this is a great question and one that we are continually addressing. Schools and staff need to get up to speed on the issue of stalking, and now the growing issue of cyberbullying which in of itself is a form of cyberstalking. Local law enforcement should via their domestic violence unit or detective have enough expertise in stalking to be able to convey same to school staff. In regard to the cyber-bullying, we suggest one go to the information posted on the National Crime Prevention Council's website on the subjet, www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying
2.  Rebecca Dreke
 Great question Kim. January is stalking awareness month and we have a website that provides a lot of information on how to do awareness raising activities in your local area. Please visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org. Also, we at the SRC are currently working on a project right now addressing this very issue in partnership with OVW and CALCASA. We are developing a sample policy/protocol document that schools can adopt for use on their campuses. For more information, please email us at SRC@ncvc.org.
I am curious to know what is stalking in the workplace. I work for a Victim/Witness agency and did have a call come in regarding this topic. Was not sure how to handle the call and I patched it out to my supervisor.
1.  Michael Proctor
 Stalking in the workplace generally comes in two packages. The first is where someone outside of the workplace enters onto the grounds to harass, injure, or disrupt the duties of the individual he or she has targeted for the purposes of stalking or other disruptive behavior. The second type would be a stalking scenario that has developed through the course of co-workers intereacting within the workplace. This can be as a result of a dating, or non-dating relationship. Employers are best served by having a specific workplace violence policy in place to handle these types of disruptions which can and oftentimes do lead to violence, property damage, or loss of work hours and productivity.
2.  Rebecca Dreke
 Thanks for the question. Stalking is a course of conduct, directed at a specific person that puts that person in fear. People who are being stalked often fear for their safety and are uncertain of what the stalker might do. Stalkers will often pursue their victims - not only at their personal residence, but also at their places of employment. Often times the stalker knows when the victim will be at work and will try to contact herhim there to harass, intimidate and scare the victim. For more general information about stalking, please visit our website at www.ncvc.org/src.
Is there a protocol to get kids involved?
1.  Michael Proctor
 Kim, we have developed a stalking protocol for law enforcement which does the following concerning kids whose parent(s) are the victims of stalking because the children can be at risk and are definitely used as information conduits in a stalking scenario: We have the children photographed and fingerprinted. Any distinguishing marks, scars, are also recorded. The school is provided with a photo of the stalker and a pick-up order by parent(s) or a specific pre-approved individual is given to the school's staff. In regard to college students...which are involved with stalking issues more and more...we have just finished a D.O.J. (Department of Justice)grant through U.S.C. (University of Southern Cal.) designed to develop a protocol to better handle stalking reporting in the college situation. The grant also addresses once the data is produced how the college community handles the stalker; either administratively, or criminally.
2.  Rebecca Dreke
 The Stalking Resource Center is working on a project right now addressing stalking on campus geared towards college and university campuses. We provide training and technical assistance as well as raising awareness about stalking on campus. We also work in partnership with the National Center for Victims of Crime's Youth Initiative to provide trainings and awareness regarding teens and stalking. If you'd like to request a training in your area, please visit www.ncvc.org/src.
Do you have suggestions for video resources to use as follow-up to the "RealCrime: Real Fear"(which is excellent)?
1.  Rebecca Dreke
 Thanks! We have a video available called Links in the Chain which discusses building a coordinated community response to stalking. We are also working on other media to further raise awareness about stalking. Please see visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org for some materials and feel free to email us for any other resources.
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