'None Of Our Business' Campaign Illustrates Impact Of Domestic Violence On The Workplace in Nebraska

OMAHA, NE — When domestic violence leaves home, it can carve a deadly, costly and dangerous path at the workplace. One in three women in America is expected to experience domestic violence at some time in her life and because of it, American businesses can expect to pay an estimated $3 to $5 billion a year in medical expenses and costs for lost wages, sick leave, absenteeism and lowered productivity, according to the Safe at Work Coalition, 2003.

Last year, in Douglas County alone, the YWCA counseled 3,547 victims on domestic violence issues. That's why the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) of Greater Omaha has joined with Verizon Wireless to sponsor "None of Our Business," a training session and luncheon for Omaha business representatives on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Marriott Hotel, 10220 Regency Circle. The training will provide strategies for preventing and addressing this critical issue in the work setting and offer employers information on identifying domestic violence, and tips and practical solutions for dealing with problems if they arise at their businesses.

"While many people recognize that domestic violence is one of the most pressing issues of our time, most business leaders have yet to realize the impact such violence has on the workplace," said Nancy Clark, president—Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. "We've underwritten this important event with the hope that it will raise awareness of this issue and elevate the discussion of what business can do about it."

The training session will be held from 8 a.m.—11:30 a.m., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel. The session will be led Donald Gault, a public health manager for Saint Paul-Ramsey County, Minn. Verizon Wireless will host a complimentary luncheon following the training session for attendees and members of the business community from noon—1 p.m. Luncheon speakers will include Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey and Omaha City Prosecutor Martin Conboy.

A key component of Verizon Wireless' training program is the videotaped stage production of "None of Our Business," originally created by Theatre at Work, Inc., of Saint Paul, Minn. The stage production tells the fictional story of Patrice Gleason whose co-workers gradually catch on to the violence she faces at home. The program dramatizes the impact of domestic violence on the workplace: Gleason's many absences; the additional workload; the curiosity and frustration that consume her colleagues; and ultimately, the costly distraction of a crisis for both her employer and her husband's employer.

In addition to the training DVD, the complete program-available for purchase by employers-includes a companion manual that can be customized to reflect each company's policies and procedures for what actions they would like their managers and employees to take in response to a domestic violence situation.

Verizon Wireless has provided nearly $40,000 to underwrite the production of the "None of Our Business" program and the associated training tools, and an additional $15,000 to underwrite the training and luncheon in Omaha.

Mary Larsen, director of Omaha's YWCA Women Against Violence program and spokesperson for the "None of Our Business" campaign, said the goals are to generate awareness of how this serious issue affects the workplace and to serve as a catalyst for education and training in the business community. "I think employers value their employees and want to provide as much help to them as they can," Larsen said. "This is a good place to start."

For more information about the event, including the cost of registration, training materials and video or DVD, and to obtain more information on the complimentary luncheon, visit the DVCC website www.dvccomaha.org  or call the DVCC at (402) 398-9928.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.  To receive broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.