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Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries



Date: February 3, 2023


Title: Domestic Violence Indicators


By Joseph Paul Manley, Founding Principal Consultant of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC


Domestic abuse may not begin at the workplace, but it affects the victim’s workplace. It can happen to both men and women, but more often women. There are many warning signs that an employee is experiencing domestic abuse. Changes in behavior, subordinate behavior, and many other tell-tale signs, can indicate abuse in the relationship of a co-worker. Remember, there is one place that the abuser knows the victim will always be – work.


Disruptive Calls


Any phone calls that are not work related are a disruption to the workday. But when they are numerous, abusive in nature, and from a significant other, these could be signs of domestic abuse at the home. These calls not only come to the victim, but also to co-workers, the abuser seeking information on the victim and their activities.


The victim, often, not only feels anxiety due to the content of the calls, but tension from the calls coming at work. The employee knows that the calls are against company policy, but cannot stop the calls from coming in. This causes even more stress for the victim. Threats via the phone calls, cause the victim to be uneasy, distracted, and unable to concentrate on anything except the abuse. All the signs that we will discuss, need to be reported to the proper manager.


Poor Concentration


One of the most glaring indications to a problem at home, is a good employee that suddenly has poor work performance. The employee seems distracted, maybe he/she takes longer to complete the tasks at hand, this is a behavior to note. This person’s concentration is not on work anymore, but on something else, probably the abuser. The victim is planning a get-away, planning how to hide the bruises, planning what to say to the abuser, but not planning on how they will get the work complete.


This lack of concentration can cost the team time, energy, and cost the company in productivity. In essence, the violence that occurs outside of the company, is costing the company in the end. Identifying changes in the victim’s behavior, like this, could help in identifying the problem and getting the victim the help that they need.


Bruising


Black eyes, bruising, broken bones, these are all signs of abuse. Adults typically do not fall, run into doors, or slip and fall, in normal situations. But when the employee explains away injuries with convenient accident stories, further investigation is warranted.


Another warning sign is inappropriate attire or dress. For example, when the victim dresses in long sleeves on hot days, or wears sunglasses inside the building, this is to hide the bruising. The victim is covering the signs of the abuse with their dress. Wincing in pain when touched can be a sign of an underlying condition. Being suddenly startled, or unconsciously ducking when surprised can also be signs of physical abuse and possibly injuries.


Absences


Due to the circumstances at home, victims of domestic abuse frequently have high absenteeism rates. Victims often take unplanned vacations, and sudden uses of earned time. Absenteeism is frequent so to hide the injuries, but also due to the emotional abuse taking its toll on the victim’s physical condition. These absences cost the victim money, the team in time and recovery from the loss of a member, and the company in profits, and productivity of a trained employee.


Domestic abuse and the stress it exerts on the victim, often causes many other physical conditions, much like bullying. The victim can have health effects such as insomnia, headaches, gastric issues like ulcers, and even cardiac issues. This contributes to the increasing absenteeism of a domestic abuse victim.


Practical Illustration


Jack notices that Laura has been missing a lot of work lately. And when she is there, her work is subpar. He calls his manager Bill and reports that he thinks that Laura may be a victim of domestic abuse. Bill asks him to elaborate, a few absences does not necessarily make a domestic abuse case. He tells him that Laura has been wearing long sleeves, and it is July in Florida. This is not normal. He also mentions that she has been getting a lot of phone calls from home. Her husband called Jack last week, asking if Laura was at work that day. Bill agrees that there may be a problem and thanks Jack for his observant nature and reporting.


Bill calls in Laura and offers her assistance. he tells her that there is also an Employee Assistance Program that she can use, free of charge, anonymously. Laura makes an appointment with them for next week.



About the Author


Joseph Paul Manley – M.A. is the Founding Principal Consultant for Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, an Independent Security Consulting and Training practice with a focus on violence detection, prevention, response, and recovery. Paul is a retired Massachusetts Police Lieutenant, WVTS (Board-Certified Workplace Violence and Threat Specialist), CCIS (Certified Crisis Intervention Specialist), Verbal De-escalation Instructor, Security Expert, and Trainer.


Date: August 31, 2022


Title: The Impact of Domestic Violence in the Workplace

By Joseph "Paul" Manley, President & CEO Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC

Domestic Violence is a hidden threat because businesses typically do not know that there could be an employee with a domestic violence problem. Often, even if the employer does know, the information usually does not end up in the hands of the security team or upper management who are able to help the employee. Therefore, the entire organization is at risk if there is a domestic violence victim in the organization and nobody knows about it. They do not know how to help because they do not know there is a problem, and the security team does not know who to keep an eye out for because they have not been alerted.


The risk for your entire organization escalates should the domestic violence victim choose to leave the home and come to work. In most instances, work is the only place the offender knows where to find the victim. Now, that risk is transferred to the entire workplace to include the parking lots. It is not just the victim that is at risk at the workplace. Anyone else who is in the parking lot, near or inside the building, will potentially be impacted by the offender who is trying to find their partner or ex-partner.


You owe it to your employees to keep them safe. The Centers for Disease Control reports that alarmingly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes. In the U.S., an average of twenty people experiences intimate partner physical violence every minute, which equates to more than ten million abuse victims annually, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Domestic violence affects people of any race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, or economic status; anyone can be a victim or offender of domestic violence.


The biggest impact an employer can make for his or her employees in terms of having a domestic violence policy is through education. Educating the victim about what you an employer can do to help them. For example, how can we help you? Let us know how we can feel that this is a safe place for you?


It’s important to remember that if an employee has a health problem, they typically tell the employer and tell them they need an accommodation. In a domestic violence concern, the victim may be extremely uncomfortable. The employer must take that first step to educate and tell every new employee during onboarding that this is what our domestic violence policy is and if you have a problem, please come, and talk to us. In doing this, you are telling your employees that you are open to helping and if they feel they have a coworker who is at risk they would feel more comfortable talking with their coworker or talking with Human Resources about helping their coworker.


Sadly, not every organization has a Domestic Violence Policy. It is important that anyone within an organization (Human Resources, Security, Legal, Janitorial Services, housekeeping etc.) go into upper management and ask what the policy is. By not having these conversations, we are putting the organization, it’s employees, vendors and invited guests at risk. We want our employees to feel safe, ask for that help and not feel embarrassed or in fear of losing their job. Almost daily we are hearing about workplace violence, active shooter, active assailant, and hostile intruder but less about domestic violence in the workplace. Why has domestic violence in the workplace been a hidden threat? It starts with the victim. Victims of domestic violence are dealing with a lot at home. They are clearly going through a complicated decision matrix about how to best manage this scenario. Do they leave, do they stay, do they try and work it out? The dynamic for them to ask for help is exceedingly difficult. Victims are afraid their coworkers are going to judge them, their supervisors will not promote them, or that they will lose their job. Employment is the biggest requirement for victims to feel like they can leave their abuser. With all the other emotional complexities, the victim must have a job to be able to afford another place to live or possible move to another town, city, or state. It’s an overly complex dynamic with the family and it’s important that they know that they will not lose their job because they have a problem.


As with any companywide initiative, executive buy-in and a comprehensive plan are essential. It is important that the workplace have an open-door policy so employees will feel like they have someone with whom they can talk. If we incorporate this into our ongoing educational training, employees may be more willing to talk with someone.


Safety must be a top priority. Domestic violence thrives in a culture of silence. Workplaces and communities can support victims, their children, and families by working together to create a safe work environment through awareness, education, and a commitment to safety and security as part of a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program.

About the Authors

Joseph Paul Manley – M.A. is the Founding Principal and Lead Consultant for Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, an Independent Security Consulting and Training practice with a focus on violence detection, prevention, response, and recovery. Paul is a retired Massachusetts Police Lieutenant, WVTS (Board-Certified Workplace Violence and Threat Specialist), CCIS (Certified Crisis Intervention Specialist), Verbal De-escalation Instructor, Security Expert, and Trainer.


Wendy Kessler-Cody, M.Ed. has a BS in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University and a Master's in Education from Salem State College. Wendy has worked in the criminal justice system and in human services for most of her career. Wendy is the Co-Owner of New Focus LLC, a 12-week Anger Management Program and is a Certified Anger Management Specialist (CAMS-1) and SAS-AP certified (Situational Awareness Advanced Practitioner)

June 5, 2017

Law enforcement officers’ lives are on the line both on and off duty. They must follow several guidelines and protocols 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help ensure their own safety, the safety of their peers and the people around them.

June 15, 2017

Whether you work in law enforcement, security, the fire service, EMS, healthcare, human services, business, or any field, you have likely come across angry, hostile or non-compliant behavior. Your response to defensive behavior is often the key to avoiding a physical confrontation with someone who has lost control of their behavior.

December 4, 2017

Certain words or phrases can be verbal indicators of deception. The presence of one or two of these indicators is not necessarily a sign of deception, but a good interviewer should treat them as cues to probe further. Investigators must always look for clusters of verbal indicators and treat them as markers for where to insert more probing questions.

December 16, 2019

Reprinted by PoliceOne

com. Article originally posted May 2019 in the IPSA Public Safety Newsletter.

January 10, 2020

Preventing workplace violence is a difficult challenge. Workplace Violence physically injures (and in some cases kills) employees, disrupts business, damages morale, creates expenses (medical, legal), and hurts your reputation.

To help you continue to understand the impact workplace violence incidents can have and how to prevent it, here are two incidents of workplace violence:

March 18, 2020

In the United States, an increasing number of police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics have been ordered into 14-day quarantine at home or in quarters after exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient.

As of March 18, 2020, we are aware of 25 Kirkland Washington firefighters and two police officers; four King County Washington EMS paramedics, including two interns; 77 San Jose California firefighters; six Reedy Creek Florida firefighters; 9 Albany County New York deputy sheriff’s; and five FDNY EMS providers who have been ordered into quarantine. There is a high likelihood additional personnel will be reported as in quarantine, quarantine completed, or released from quarantine in the days ahead.

May 25, 2021

The 4 Types of Disasters Your Church Needs to Be Ready For

By Joseph "Paul" Manley, President & CEO Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC

Today I wanted to talk about why it’s so important to have a well-trained Church Safety team in your church and the 4 main types of disasters your church needs to be ready for at all times. As a Risk Manager these are things I think about every day, and encourage you keep in mind as well.


The success of any Safety Ministry begins with the right people. And the right people are the ones who are knowledgeable in the different dangers that threaten congregations.


This begins by properly classifying the types of disasters facing our modern churches:

  • Natural Disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires
  • Human-Caused Disasters like theft, active intruder, vandalism and sexual abuse
  • Technological Disasters like power failures and computer hacking
  • Insider threat

But simply knowing these threats exist isn’t what makes a Safety Ministry well-prepared.


What truly matters is building your team of staff and volunteers in the proper ways to overcome and prevent these disasters.


But how can you be sure you have the right people on your Church Safety Team?


Here are five key questions to ask about someone in determining if they fit the mold:

  • Is the person faithful to their Church and Family?
  • Is the person conscientious?
  • Does the person get along well with others?
  • Can the person be discrete?
  • Can the person pass a criminal background check?

Answering yes to all of those is a great place to start.


Once you have the right people on your Church Safety Team, the next step is training them to properly prepare for, prevent and overcome everything the disasters listed above can throw your way. Which is exactly why we are creating the Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC Church Safety and Security Academy.


It is everyone’s responsibility and privilege to do God’s work keeping our congregations safe and secure. So, let’s ensure we have the right people with best possible training to safeguard our most important assets.


BIO

Joseph “Paul” Manley ("Paul") is the Founder and CEO of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, a Training and Independent Consulting Firm with a focus on violence detection, prevention, response and recovery. Paul is a retired Massachusetts Police Lieutenant, Violence Prevention and Threat Specialist, Security Expert, and Trainer.

Date: September 13, 2021


Awareness Tips for Travelers and Airline Personnel

By Joseph "Paul" Manley, President & CEO Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC

Article originally printed and published in January 2020

Never talk about your plans or where you are staying while on the plane or anywhere in the airport. Especially if you're traveling solo. You never know who is listening. This means paying attention if you're talking on your phone sometimes you can forget that there are others around listening. The same holds true when you arrive at your place of lodging. Don't announce your room number to your fellow travelers. Instead, write it on a piece of paper and hand it to them.


2. Prop your bags against the door of your hotel room and inspect it before closing the door behind you. In case an assailant is hiding in your room, you can get out quickly.


3. Hotel rooms with adjoining doors are simply not as safe or secure as compared to rooms without an adjoining door. If you are assigned a room with an adjoining door, ask to be moved to a room without an adjoining door.


4. Use the deadbolt! People have walked into the wrong room because the hotel inadvertently gave a key to a room already occupied. This will also stop housekeeping from coming in while you're in the shower should you forget the do not disturb sign.


5. What if you hear a knock at the door, but you didn't order room service or call for anything? Do not open the door for anyone you're not sure of. Call the front desk when in doubt.


6. Leave your television on when you leave your room. A thief is less likely to enter if they think the room is occupied.


7. Leave a note on the nightstand when you go out with a description of yourself and your plans. This way if something happens to you, the police have something to go on. Never leave your Airline ID Badge in your room. Always take your airline ID badge with you.


8. Know your exits! Leave a travel flashlight and a room key close to the door. In case of a fire grab both on your way out. If you encounter thick smoke or fire down the hall, you can re-enter your room and call for help.


9. Before you check out of your hotel room, take a look everywhere in your room to be sure you did not leave anything behind.

Taking these simple steps and staying aware of your surroundings will go a long way in keeping you safe!


Author

Joseph “Paul” Manley ("Paul") is the Principal Consultant and Founder of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, a Training and independent security management consulting firm with a focus on violence detection, prevention, response and recovery. Paul is a retired Massachusetts Police Lieutenant, security expert and trainer.

Date: July 28, 2022


The Importance of Risk Assessment in Retail Security

By Joseph “Paul” Manley, President & CEO Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC


To ensure the safety of employees, patrons, physical assets and management staff, efficient and effective tailor-made retail security management plans are significant. A solid baseline of security will enable retail establishments to mitigate risks more fully, thereby being able to focus on providing a better service for their customers. Here are several factors why having a risk assessment is so crucial for the retail security.

What is Risk Assessment?

To diminish potential risk within an establishment, it’s important to decrease the levels of any vulnerabilities present and measure them against the levels of threats. The process of identifying these possible hazards and measuring them against individual vulnerabilities is known as risk assessment.


This procedure also helps to examine the frequency of exposure to hazards and how to develop and implement strategies to prevent them from causing any harm.


Potential threats are classified into two categories: Internal and External.

What are Internal Threats?

Internal threats are those which originate within the premises themselves, such as structural failures, mechanical breakdowns, staff theft and workplace accidents. They also cover standard violations and safety hazards.

What are External Threats?

External threats stem from outside forces like robbery, civil disturbance, or arson.

What are Vulnerabilities?

Both physical and social vulnerabilities can exist as doorways to threats within organizations. Physical vulnerabilities include factors such as flimsy exits or entrances, insufficient planning, or poor architecture, while social vulnerabilities could be employees and management being unaware or poorly educated on the proper safety protocols and security.


Risk Assessment aims to cover the following:

  • Material and Physical Security: Equipment such as elevators, and escalators need to be checked thoroughly to prevent malfunctioning which can cause staff and patron injuries. Any delivery areas should be well protected and not left vulnerable.
  • Management Involvement: Plans and policies related to security and preventing threats should be put in place by the management and reviewed on a regular basis.

  • Control of access: There should be traffic controllers or a system in place to manage the flow of people entering and leaving the premises, especially during peak hours.

  • Response to Emergencies: Information signage should be well placed so that it is clear, visible, and comprehensible in the case of emergencies. Staff and shop owners should be trained and informed on how to best manage a crisis.

From prioritizing hazards and controlling measures to documenting the process and its results, our staff is fully trained and experienced in conducting detailed and step-by-step risk assessment procedures.


If you’re looking for top security services for your establishment or premises, contact us today for more information about our services.


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