Initiative Addresses Partner Violence as a Workforce Issue

The primary objective of STANDING FIRM is to engage employers in addressing partner violence as a workplace and workforce issue and to serve as a resource to them for education, training, and communication.

STANDING FIRM, a southwestern Pennsylvania initiative to address partner violence as a workforce issue, was launced during the annual Pittsburgh Human Resources Association (PHRA) conference at Heinz Field.  The primary objective of STANDING FIRM is to engage employers in addressing partner violence as a workplace and workforce issue and to serve as a resource to them for education, training, and communication.

More than one-quarter of workplace violence incidents that occur in the United States are related to partner violence. The threats to employers on the safety and security of their employees, as well as their productivity and health care costs, are enormous.

"By acknowledging and addressing partner violence as a workplace and workforce issue, we can take necessary steps toward stopping it," said Patricia Cluss, director of STANDING FIRM.  "It's time for employers in our region to address partner violence in the same way that they've addressed substance abuse; through the adoption of workplace policies, employee education, training and communication."

The case for recognizing partner violence in the workplace rests in the statistics:

  • On average, in Pennsylvania, approximately 100,000 victims of partner violence seek assistance each year.
  • More than one in five full-time employed adults have been victims of partner violence.
  • Loss of productivity related to partner violence each year costs employers approximately $727.8 million.
  • Sixty-four percent of victims of partner violence said their work productivity declined because of distractions at work.
  • 7.9 million paid workdays are lost each year to partner violence.
  • Health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking and homicide by intimate partners exceed $5.8 billion annually.
  • Twenty-five percent of workplace events that occur nationally are related to partner violence.

"The statistics are alarming, and in southwestern Pennsylvania we've been fortunate to not make national headlines about a partner violence incident that resulted in tragedy in the workplace," Cluss said. "STANDING FIRM wants to engage employers and provide all of the resources and training that they'll need to address this issue."


Any employer can become a member of STANDING FIRM online at, and there is no cost to join. 

Members can access the member portal where they will find:

sample policies
templates for surveys and communication
strategic planning resources
guidelines for developing a training plan

The following southwestern Pennsylvania employers have signed on as Lead Employers and will speak out and take a stand against partner violence:

Allegheny County
Chatham University
City of Pittsburgh
Fifth Third Bancorp
Pittsburgh Foundation

The following foundations have provided funding for STANDING FIRM:

Eden Hall Foundation
FISA Foundation
McAuley Ministries
Women and Girls Foundation

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