The following Illustrative Case Studies are based on real stories from real victims who we have personally worked with.
These situations clearly show how the affects of domestic and family violence pose a serious threat to the workplace.
Identities have been kept anonymous for privacy and safety reasons.
Case Study # 1:
Poor Performance & Productivity
Whenever he had been drinking he would get violent. He would sit on my chest so I couldn’t breathe.
I’d be sobbing and beg him to stop but I learnt to be quiet because as soon as I struggled, he’d always put his hands around my throat to make me quiet.
He’d always apologise the next day saying he was so sorry, it was the drink, it wouldn’t happen again. I used to think, “it’s OK he’s promised it won’t happen again” but as time went on it started becoming more regular.
I was terrified of dying. The worst part is no one believed me, especially when no marks were ever left on me.
I began forgetting things I knew I should remember at work due to the strangulation, and now I’m being questioned at work about my forgetfulness.
I feel so trapped and alone, how could I ever tell my boss the real reason for becoming so forgetful?
Case Study # 2:
Even though he left the kids and I a few months back we can’t seem to escape him.
He breaks into the house at night and helps himself to our food in the kitchen, he moves things around when the kids and I are at work and school.
Last week he stole my car keys and slashed a tyre on my car so I was late to work and had my pay docked.
The kids won’t sleep alone anymore and we’re all on edge every time we hear a noise outside.
I haven’t slept for so long and I’m afraid what he’ll do next.
I can’t think straight at home and the lack of sleep is really taking its toll on me at work.
I’m so scared I’ll lose my job.
Case Study # 3:
He punishes me by taking away all our baby’s nappies for 2-3 days at a time.
The distress this causes my baby and I is beyond belief.
I can’t take my baby to childcare with no nappies so I have to stay home from work and call in sick but I’ve only got 2 days sick leave left.
I’ve got no idea what I’m going to do next when my sick leave is all gone.
Case Study # 4:
Risk of Harm to Others
He hid firearms and other weapons around the house and would bring them out at night to threaten me so I would do exactly what he wanted, when he wanted.
I go to work exhausted and I’m on edge the whole time.
Who would believe me if I tried to tell them this at work?
I don’t want people scared of me too.
Case Study # 5:
Hours of Work
If I arrived home from work even 15 minutes late there would be hell to pay for not only me but the kids too…he wouldn’t let it go for days on end and we would all suffer.
The kids would always look at me as if to say, “Why would you do that Mum, why would you be late, you know what he’s like?”
How could I tell the kids I might lose my job if told my boss I had to leave work so I can get home on time?
Case Study # 6:
I work as a school teacher and my husband’s an international airline pilot.
We’ve been in a relationship for the last 25 years and have a young son.
When we were young I paid thousands of dollars for my husband to qualify as a pilot.
It was after he finished his studies the abuse started but I always felt I had to keep quiet.
Physical and sexual abuse are part of my life. I know it’s wrong but I can’t stop it.
Over the years he’s purchased everything that ever mattered in his name – our house, car and other assets.
I have nothing of my own and can’t afford to leave.
I have to beg him for money every time I need to buy something for my son or I because he takes my salary out of our account each week so I have to make do on a small allowance.
He keeps me fat and poorly dressed. I tried to lose weight once, but he got so nasty because he told me he doesn’t want me meeting anyone else while he’s away.
My parents and work colleagues think he’s a model husband and I’m continuously being given advice by some of my work friends that I should take better care of myself.
My boss pulled me aside last week and told me he thinks I should use my annual leave to take a ‘voluntary’ break from work to get myself right.
I just can’t.
My husband would think I’m having an affair and it would cause so much trouble.
I don’t know what to say to my boss or do.
Case Study # 7:
He gets his work mate to drop my lunch off to me at reception as a way of keeping an eye on me. It’s his calling card to say, “I’m watching you”.
Others I work with think it’s such a sweet gesture and they wonder why I never want it but the thought of eating it makes me feel sick.
He knows doing this makes me a mess at work and I just can’t concentrate.
I’m so scared someone is going to say something one day soon about my performance, I know it’s coming and I’m petrified.
Case Study # 8:
I receive over 20 messages on Viber each hour from him while I’m at work.
It’s worse if I don’t reply, he gets jealous and starts emailing me as well.
I’m scared someone at work is going to see the abusive emails and I’ll get fired because he’s using my work email to contact me, but I can’t stop him.
I try to delete them as quickly as I can.
Case Study # 9:
I had recently started a new relationship and he moved into my house.
Things deteriorated fast and he punched my son.
The court issued a DVO while he was on bail but he was so apologetic and nice to me I agreed to have the order withdrawn in court. That’s when the problems started.
He put pressure on me to move back in and when I told him I wasn’t sure he got angry.
He sent emails to my manager saying I was a liar and had the used company computer inappropriately on a number of occasions in an attempt to get me fired.
On the same day he called the Police to report I was refusing to give back some of his son’s clothes and his laptop. The truth was he hadn’t turned up at the agreed time to collect them.
I’ve never done anything wrong in my life before and I started questioning my actions.
I was called into my manager’s office to explain the emails and I felt sick.
I knew I also had to ask my manager for time off to go to the Police Station to make a statement to tell them about the clothes and laptop.
How had this happened?
I’ve never caused problems at work before.
What would my manager say?
Case Study # 10:
He would monitor my every move and accuse me of sleeping with my work mates.
He wanted to know where I was all the time.
He would drop me at work and pick me up.
He used to watch me at lunch times and none of my colleagues knew.
They would tease me for being so serious during my lunch breaks and tell me to chill.
Case Study # 11:
Misuse of Company Resources and Time
We arrived here as refugees. He kept me alone at home and I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone outside our community.
He got a job as a mobile mechanic and he’d use his work van to come home at different times during the day to check up on me to make sure I hadn’t left the house.
I was a prisoner in my own home.
If I hadn’t finished the things he wanted to do, he would punish me.
The problem was, he wouldn’t tell me what he wanted, so I could never get it right.
I just wish he couldn’t use that van to come home.
Case Study # 12:
Abuse amongst Business Owners
We came from India about 12 years ago. My husband and I built up a very successful chain of aged care facilities across a number of locations and owned a beautiful home.
He had been violent towards me for some time so last year I courageously left him.
He agreed we could live in a rental house and that’s when the unrelenting psychological abuse began.
I had no money and had to rely on him and the business to pay my bills.
He paid the rental for the first few months, then stopped paying and told the accounts office it was no longer an authorised form of expenditure.
He alienated me from our staff and had many of my daily responsibilities removed from my control.
He made others at work think I was losing the plot but what he was really doing was forcing me to return to the family home with the kids.
I desperately wanted someone at work to step up and help me, to see what was really going on and to understand this can happen to anyone.
Case Study # 13:
Deemed ‘Unreliable’ At Work
We have a daughter who is 9. He was a leader within his community but despite this I couldn’t keep any job because of him.
He didn’t live with me but controlled every aspect of our lives.
He turned up when he wanted to, expected a meal to be cooked when he wanted to be fed, demanded sex at any time from me.
He made sure my daughter and I were always there after school to see to his every need.
He forced me to use all of my money each week to buy him groceries and other items for his entertainment.
I dreamt of one day being able to go to the supermarket and choosing whether I wanted to buy oranges or apples and then being able to take them home and keep each one of them for my daughter and I to eat.
Do I like oranges or apples? I truly don’t know because he would tell me which ones I liked.
He would drive past my house at night and if I didn’t have the kitchen curtains drawn by a certain time I would be badly assaulted.
The last straw was when I over-heard his mates talking about my daughter getting older and that’s when I knew we had to escape.
They problem is, who would employ me now after never being able to keep a job?
I’ve got a reputation as being unreliable I’m told but I had to protect my little girl.