Relationship Violence


Relationship violence is the most common form of violence to enter the workplace. A US Justice Department and Centers for Disease Control study in 2000 found that almost 25 percent of women and 7 percent of men reported that they had been assaulted by a current or former partner. Many victims may feel safer at work than home, but they often endure threats and harassing phone calls and e-mails from partners who know exactly where to find them during work hours.

Signs of Relationship Violence

A person:

  • who is anxious, cries frequently, or is depressed.
  • who has frequent or sudden unscheduled absences.
  • who is frequently late to work or who leaves work early.
  • whose work quality fluctuates for no apparent reason.
  • who has difficulty concentrating and who has decreased productivity.
  • who is isolated from colleagues and social activities.
  • who has an excessive number of phone calls or e-mails with family members.
  • who experiences disruptive personal visits to the workplace.
  • who displays visible injuries or multiple injuries in different stages of healing.
  • who has unexplained delays in seeking treatment for injuries; who explains that the injuries result from accidents, clumsiness, etc.  
  • who experiences stress-related illnesses and/or anxiety-related conditions, such as heart palpitations, hyperventilation, and panic attacks.

Employee Leave Entitlements

Under Washington state law, an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, or who has to assist a family member who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking has certain leave entitlements. Employers are able to verify the need for leave. Familiarize yourself with information about these entitlements.

Protection Orders

There are a variety of types of "protection orders" that a person experiencing violence can obtain, and forms to obtain a protection order are available in any municipal, district, or superior court.

  • An order restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse;
  • An order directing the abuser to leave your household;
  • An order preventing the abuser from entering a residence, school, business, or place of employment;
  • An order awarding custody of, or visitation with a minor child or children; and
  • An order restraining the abuser from molesting or interfering with minor children in a person's custody.


Be prepared to talk with an individual when you suspect relationship violence, or when a victim of relationship violence turns to you for help or comfort.  

  • Call 911 if the person tells you that she or he has experienced an immediate threat or fears imminent violence.
  • Keep information that is shared with you confidential, and share it with others only on a need to know basis.
  • Contact the Violence Prevention & Response Program at 206-685-SAFE (206-685-7233). Program staff will assemble the resources to help evaluate risk and formulate a response and action plan.
  • Encourage employees to contact UW CareLink at 1-800-833-3031. Provide a private office with a telephone if the employee would like to call UW CareLink during work time.
  • Encourage students to contact SARIS at 206-685-HELP (685-4357) or the UW Counseling Center at 206-543-1240.
  • Encourage the individual to let you know in advance if he or she can't meet a deadline or is unable to handle a specific assignment due to personal safety concerns. Temporarily adjusting work or academic assignments may allow the person to successfully complete them while accommodating problems the person may be facing.
  • Help employees to understand the leave entitlements that are available to help ensure the employee's safety, and be as flexible as possible in accommodating the employee’s need for leave or work schedule adjustments.
  • If an employee needs to relocate for safety reasons, discuss the situation with your unit's Human Resources Consultant to determine what assistance may be available to help the employee identify alternate employment.
  • If a student needs to relocate for safety reasons, have the student contact 206-685-SAFE (206-685-7233).

Protection Orders

If you are informed that an individual has obtained an Order for Victim Protection that includes a University of Washington location(s) instruct the person to:

  • Provide a copy of the order to the UW Police Department. Call the non-emergency dispatch number (206-685-UWPD (8973) to arrange to speak to a UW Police Officer in person to discuss the specific details of the order.
  • Report the situation to the Violence Prevention & Response Team at 685-SAFE. The Violence Prevention and Response Team will convene the Threat Assessment Team to make on-campus safety recommendations for your employee and your work location.


If you or others may be in danger


206-685-SAFE (7233)
For advice and resources


206-685-WALK (9255)
UW safety guards
to walk with you