Partnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Reymundo Mandel

Season 2 Episode 20: Minisode Series on Worker Safety & Well-Being: Intro to the series

October 31, 2021 Ruth Stearns Mandel & David Mandel Season 2 Episode 20
Partnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Reymundo Mandel
Season 2 Episode 20: Minisode Series on Worker Safety & Well-Being: Intro to the series
Show Notes Transcript

In the kickoff of their first ever minisode series, David & Ruth  will introduce the theme of  worker safety and well-being in the context of working on issues related to domestic violence. The goal of the series is to address the critical issues of worker safety and well-being as a critical aspect of domestic violence informed systems. 

 Since the inception of the Model, it has been central to  know the perpetrators pattern, not only as it related to  domestic violence-informed work with the family,  but also as it related to the safety & efficacy of the worker. A worker, who is engaging a family where there is domestic violence, needs to know if perpetrator has a known pattern of violence or intimidation toward others outside the family. This is a basic domestic violence informed practice related to worker safety.  

Since then our understanding of the organizational importance of addressing worker safety and well being has only grown.  Worker safety may impact 

  • attrition and retention
  • worker mental and emotional health
  • worker performance  
  • the safety and well-being of workers who are survivors themselves.

As the Safe & Together Institute's work and our collaborations with Professor Cathy Humphreys has shown, when worker safety concerns go unaddressed child protection workers may be more blaming of survivors and hold perpetrators less accountable as parents out fear for their own safety;  

This is a series for frontline staff across child protection, mental health and addiction, courts and other systems. We hope it will validate their experiences. This is also a  series for human resources managers and organizational leadership.  Setting policies and procedures to addresses worker emotional & professional safety in the context of domestic violence cases is essential to creating a domestic violence informed agency.  

 Topics in the series will include:

·      When workers are targeted by the perpetrator of one of the clients

·      The connection between worker safety in engaging perpetrators and mother-blaming practice. 

·      When workers are being targeted by their own perpetrator (through the workplace and at home)

·      When workers own experience of abuse are triggered by their work with families 

·      Managing your own fears, as the worker, about the safety of the family.

We hope you join us for the other episodes.

Read the Safe & Together Institute's white paper on worker safety

Take an online course on worker safety related to domestic violence 

Now available! Mapping the Perpetrator’s Pattern: A Practitioner’s Tool for Improving Assessment, Intervention, and Outcomes The web-based Perpetrator Pattern Mapping Tool is a virtual practice tool for improving assessment, intervention, and outcomes through a perpetrator pattern-based approach. The tool allows practitioners to apply the Model’s critical concepts and principles to their current case load in real

Speaker 1: [00:00:16] And we're back and we're back  [00:00:18][1.5]

Speaker 2: [00:00:18] way sooner than you ever expected.  [00:00:20][1.5]

Speaker 1: [00:00:20] Yes, and yes, when  [00:00:22][1.1]

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Speaker 1: [00:00:23] we ninja, we do something completely different. Yeah. Which they're saying, I can't do at least I'm not sure  [00:00:29][6.3]

Speaker 2: [00:00:30] that Char and Ninja actually go together. That's right. I put them together.  [00:00:33][3.6]

Speaker 1: [00:00:34] That's right. This is our first minutes. So many, so many. So series. Many, so many, so many. So it OK.  [00:00:44][9.7]

Speaker 2: [00:00:44] That means that we have to do this in about 15 minutes.  [00:00:47][2.9]

Speaker 1: [00:00:47] That's right.  [00:00:48][0.2]

Speaker 2: [00:00:48] Make your bets now, people.  [00:00:49][0.9]

Speaker 1: [00:00:49] That's right. I was challenged by my team that I do a podcast in and  [00:00:54][5.0]

Speaker 2: [00:00:56] use less  [00:00:56][0.4]

Speaker 1: [00:00:56] work, less word. So here we are. So we are still partnered with Survivor, and I'm David Mandel, executive director of the Secretariat. You don't have to speak. OK, so I don't know how this works.  [00:01:07][11.1]

Speaker 2: [00:01:08] Okay? And I'm with students Mendell and I am the e-learning, strategic relationships and communications  [00:01:14][6.6]

Speaker 1: [00:01:15] manager, and we are joining you from Texas land here in Connecticut. So. So this is a series which I'm very excited about, about worker safety and well-being in the context of domestic violence practice, which has been a big issue that's come up. And this is the kickoff episode, and we're going to do about five or six episodes altogether. At least that's we're now right. And really, as a system change organization, the well-being and and safety of workers is critical for us on so many levels. Yeah. And so this is a series there, but it's yeah.  [00:01:55][39.9]

Speaker 2: [00:01:55] Yeah, keep going. Sorry.  [00:01:56][0.8]

Speaker 1: [00:01:57] You know, it's OK. It's it's a really a series of brief discussions about different themes, and we'll go through those themes before we're done. But but the goal is, is to really address this area that has so many implications for organizations and individual practitioners around retention, attrition around efficacy and efficacy, mental health and wellbeing of staff safety, safety. I mean, really touched on so many different things. So so this the audience for this many showed thank you series is frontline staff, but also human resources managers and supervisors, leaders and agents. That's right, because we we want you to to listen to this and think about where is your agency on this continuum of things, right? And it's it to us. It's part of this domestic violence informed systems change that we're trying to cultivate  [00:02:57][60.3]

Speaker 2: [00:02:57] in order for us to create practice change and for workers to hold perpetrators accountable. They have to be prepared for the predictable behaviors of those perpetrators and supervisors, managers, policymakers, H.R.. People have to create policies which support their workers and recognize when a perpetrator is trying to manipulate the system, bully, harass, stalk into getting what they want and silencing victims. That's very, very important, right?  [00:03:30][32.9]

Speaker 1: [00:03:31] And so we really want to name the ways one of the topics will be for one of the Minnesota episodes is how perpetrators, how and what to do, what perpetrators actually target you as a professional.  [00:03:44][13.2]

Speaker 2: [00:03:45] And in these Minnesota, we're going to be giving behavioral information, right? Patterns of common behaviors, perpetrators and how they harass and threaten workers into silence. And how systems fail to create that safety, that those policies which are supportive of those workers in that situation.  [00:04:07][21.3]

Speaker 1: [00:04:08] So the worker safety has been at the center been a main part of the safety of the mail since its inception. You know, when I started first doing consultations in child protection, I became quickly aware that workers couldn't describe perpetrators patterns of behavior. So I was kind of poking around to find ways to get them to do that because it felt so critical in terms of understanding risk and harm, telling the story of how the perpetrator harm the children, expecting behavior, change all these different things that were related to the work with the family. Good, as you said, ethical, efficacious work with the family. And one of the things I tried to hook workers in through was, do you know if this person has any history of being assaultive, threatening, intimidating to people outside the family, including professionals, law enforcement and almost to a person they didn't know?  [00:05:02][54.2]

Speaker 2: [00:05:03] Right? Very dangerous people. You must you must find that information.  [00:05:05][3.0]

Speaker 1: [00:05:06] And so what I took away from that was that the organization and the institution wasn't supporting their workers to practice in a way. That was that was consistent with the health and safety and well-being of those workers themselves.  [00:05:20][13.9]

Speaker 2: [00:05:21] I would say that organizations not assessing that and not having a plan is poor. Safety planning behavior is not proper risk assessment behavior is not understanding the threats and analyzing how those threats impact efficacy of work. So this is really a foundational piece of institutional safety planning that needs to start happening, right?  [00:05:48][27.0]

Speaker 1: [00:05:48] And if you really think about this and we have a white paper worker safety, we do, we do which will controlling this, which is that if if you think that law enforcement to take on this issue is they know that domestic violence calls can be one of their most dangerous cause. Right. And these are professionals who show up, often armed with a with a with a weapon, with mace or wearing bulletproof vests or have you know, whatever else you know, training and implement, you know, and so.  [00:06:18][29.7]

Speaker 2: [00:06:19] But I would like to point out that the most common form of manipulation of systems is not a direct physical threat to workers. That's actually very rare. It's much more rare than it is a professional threat to  [00:06:34][15.4]

Speaker 1: [00:06:35] right, which kills. That's right. We're talking about the  [00:06:37][2.3]

Speaker 2: [00:06:37] those two distinct in your mind.  [00:06:38][1.4]

Speaker 1: [00:06:39] We're going to talk about the range of these things.  [00:06:40][1.4]

Speaker 2: [00:06:40] And if you do not want to lose your professionals, you have to come up with a very specific plan taking into account how perpetrators behave towards professionals to be supportive and to investigate those actions. Right.  [00:06:56][15.4]

Speaker 1: [00:06:57] So we're going to talk about the range of things from how do you manage physical safety threats and how do you identify them and talk about them? And then emotional threats, manipulation, you know, gaslighting all those different things that may be part of how a perpetrator approaches the system. You know, one of the things before we list the topics that we're going to talk about so you can know where we're going is that I believe and it's been supported by the work we've been doing with University of Melbourne and Cathy Humphreys and her team, as well as really kind of jumped out even more to me during this period time. Is that when we don't equip? Workers to manage their fears or concerns about engaging perpetrators, what they will continuously do is go back to the victim who's the mother and hold them accountable.  [00:07:46][49.4]

Speaker 2: [00:07:47] Right, because it's easy because the survivor, the victim is actually not the person who's breaking the law and is not the person who's dangerous. And the system can coerce them via fear right into actions which they believe is protective, but ultimately is ignoring the person who is criminal.  [00:08:05][18.7]

Speaker 1: [00:08:06] That's right. And so I see addressing worker safety well-being in all its different manifestations as being critical to breaking the back of this idea of failure to protect us the way to approach domestic violence and kids.  [00:08:20][14.1]

Speaker 2: [00:08:21] So we're eight minutes in.  [00:08:22][1.3]

Speaker 1: [00:08:23] Oh my God, we're home when we're almost done with this many Soad  [00:08:26][3.1]

Speaker 2: [00:08:27] I feel like we're super efficient. Yes, this is amazing.  [00:08:30][3.1]

Speaker 1: [00:08:30] So let me tell you a little bit about the topics that we're going to cover, and we've kind of alluded to them so far in no particular order because I'm not committing us to the order that we're going to produce these episodes in because the way we work is, sometimes we look at a topic, you go, Yes, this today we're ready is one of things we mention when workers are targeted by the perpetrator of one of their clients. Very important. Very important. It's the one that you  [00:08:55][24.6]

Speaker 2: [00:08:55] say specifically important for professional organizations, right? For our leaders and supervisors and managers. It is actually quite a gift. The perpetrators patterns of behaviors are fairly predictable, at least right now within the context of how systems are working. And so it's it's a a gift that we can create this framework of expected perpetrator behaviors within that professional context and name it and identify it. So that way, professionals can create a pathway and a plan for how to resist those manipulations.  [00:09:31][36.2]

Speaker 1: [00:09:32] So we're we're not going to dove into it. But if you've ever been targeted for complaint by a perpetrator, to a professional or a professional organization, or to your leadership or threats of those complaints, that's the kind of thing that we're talking about here that that's going to be part of it. Then the next topic is the connection between worker safety and engaging perpetrators and mother blaming practice. And again, I kind of alluded to this already, but the idea of if you don't have staff that don't have the confidence and the skill and the mandate from their leadership to engage perpetrators scripts, that's right  [00:10:07][35.3]

Speaker 2: [00:10:08] for when that perpetrator starts to threaten or gaslight that, that's professional. If you can't hold the reality of focusing on their behaviors and not be drawn into these side arguments or these accusations, you will not be able to focus on that perpetrator.  [00:10:26][17.9]

Speaker 1: [00:10:26] That's right. And this is a really, I think, a hidden problem. And to the degree that it will show up as people saying, I can't find him, yeah, or he wouldn't engage me right after no or minimal attempts to do that. So this is a hidden issue. That's a big one. The next one is. When workers are being targeted by their own perpetrator. Through the workplace and at home,  [00:10:51][24.6]

Speaker 2: [00:10:51] yes, because even in domestic violence organizations and NGOs that deal with domestic violence, if a person is experiencing violence and stalking and harassment by their own perpetrator, often those entities will fire that survivor as a way to protect themselves against liability rather than create safety plans and address the safety and well-being of that person who is working for them. And this plays directly into a perpetrator's hands of financial abuse and increases their power and control.  [00:11:31][39.1]

Speaker 1: [00:11:31] And if you can imagine being a survivor who works at a child protection agency and how terrifying the threat might be, I'm going to call your agency and report you for trouble for child abuse treatment. That's right,  [00:11:42][10.9]

Speaker 2: [00:11:42] which is a very common behavior of perpetrators.  [00:11:44][1.8]

Speaker 1: [00:11:46] The next topic we'll cover is one worker's own experience of abuse are triggered by their work with families, and it's a little bit different. It overlaps. But but many professionals come from families where where a parent has been abusive, there's been other forms of abuse, may have had it in relationships, and I can't tell you how many times people have been sent to trainings by by employers and then partway through the training. Or, you know, they have an epiphany that, oh my god, we're talking about my life, my life or talking about my best friend who was murdered. I had somebody come up to me and. And so we're hearing and more and more about the triggering. And so that's about that piece and that's about emotional safety. And then and then managing your own fears about the safety of the family. And I really want to acknowledge that workers are deeply passionate, committed to the safety of the families they work with, and they're often not supported and walking around with their feelings about fears and concerns in a way that really they need to be in many cases. So, so this is these are the topics. This is where we're going. Oh, my goodness. And I don't know if we're going to finish season in a week or two weeks. We don't know yet, but stay tuned for this. If you have other topics and ideas, send them to us and  [00:12:58][71.7]

Speaker 2: [00:12:59] and you are David  [00:13:00][0.5]

Speaker 1: [00:13:00] Mendell and I'm Dave Mandel, executive director of the safety of Their Two  [00:13:02][2.4]

Speaker 2: [00:13:04] Sons Turns into hell. And if you would like to get more information on our trainings, including worker safety, please go to Academy Dot Safe and Together Institute dot com  [00:13:15][11.0]

Speaker 1: [00:13:15] and follow us on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. All the places our  [00:13:22][6.4]

Speaker 2: [00:13:22] website is safe  [00:13:23][0.6]

Speaker 1: [00:13:23] together institute.  [00:13:24][0.4]

Speaker 2: [00:13:26] And We  [00:13:26][0.2]

Speaker 1: [00:13:27] Are Out.  [00:13:27][0.0]