Partnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Reymundo Mandel

Season 2 Episode 21: Minisode Series on Worker Safety & Well-Being: When workers are targeted by the perpetrator

November 07, 2021 Season 2 Episode 21
Partnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Reymundo Mandel
Season 2 Episode 21: Minisode Series on Worker Safety & Well-Being: When workers are targeted by the perpetrator
Show Notes Transcript

In this second installment of the multi-part minisode series on worker safety and well-being, Ruth and David explore the important topic of workers being targeted by domestic violence perpetrators.   In a few minutes , David & Ruth discuss different ways   workers are targeted including:

  • Manipulation,  intimidation  and bullying 
  • Threats  of or actual lawsuits and  complaints lodged with managers, professional boards,  or courts 
  •  Implied or real threats against family members 
  • Stalking (online or in real life)

Ruth  & David also discuss how  misogyny, racism or other forms of discrimination can be factors in the targeting of workers.  

David  & Ruth finish the brief episode with specific suggestions about basic safety and support strategies that agencies can put in place to respond to the behaviors of perpetrators.  These include: 

  • Explicitly widen out the concept of worker safety to include intimidation, manipulation, not just explicit threats or acts of  violence
  • Make this wider definition of worker safety a regular part, preventative (not reactive)  supervision in cases
  • Ensure that staff that handle client  complaint  or review boards are educated around coercive control and pattern based assessments
  • Performance reviews and human resources procedures  need to be consider the impact of threats and intimidation  on a worker's performance      

About the  worker safety and well-being minisode series   
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. 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 address worker emotional & professional safety in the context of domestic violence cases is essential to creating a domestic violence-informed agency.

Topics in the series 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.

Listen to the introduction to the series
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

And we're back 

and we're back. 

Here we are. 

OK, wait, wait, what? 

We are partnered with a survivor. 

Iam David Mandel. 

OK, listen, here you are. Yes, I'm Ruth Stern's Mandel, and I am the e-learning, communications and strategic relationships manager. 

And you are listening to a special mini sewed series on worker safety and well-being. How to deal with that? OK, which is 15 minutes or less. 

We all grow and we all learn. 

And my way of growing is using less words, I'm told. 

But your words are powerful, so you know, thank you. Use them wisely. So we are here in Connecticut 

on taxes, land 

taxes, land, which was part of the Greater Algonquin Nation, a living culture and and tribe. Yeah. And we are here on this sunny, beautiful, gorgeous Saturday day where the leaves are just shining in the sun. 

It's zero degrees Celsius outside right now. OK, let's get to get a full picture of this. 

And in reality, you are much more capable of sustaining that cold than me. 

So I guess you are. I guess it's my my northern European. 

All right. We have very little time root. Sorry, yes. 

Let's go right to it. So this is a series that we're we're looking at. The issue of the goal is to look at issues of worker safety well-being as a critical aspect of domestic violence informed systems, and it's something that relates to worker safety. Efficacy relates to attrition, relates to performance. It works, relates to worker safety and 

how they actually like to point out that it also relates to liability, right for it, for organizations and for their own best practices. And then so many other things right 

behind the scenes. And they'll be a few more episodes in this series. And but this is a series for workers to validate and reflect their experience, and we hope for managers and executives and human resources to help them think about what do we need to do to make our agency more in form so today? Yeah, the topic is when workers are targeted by the domestic violence perpetrator of one of their clients. Oh, OK. Or it it also includes that that domestic violence perpetrated may be their their client as well if they're working with the whole family. I know that when I did men's behavior change work, I was actually targeted by my clients. Not a lot, but on more than one occasion and in one particular way, fairly seriously. But would would. While it's a really minuscule portion of my work history, it was definitely there. And so and I 

do think that it has to be said that when we talk about targeting, yeah, we're not just talking about violence. That's where every professional standards mine goes. 

So I have a list. You have a list that doesn't just include physical violence, which is 

the tip of the iceberg, 

which is the tip of the iceberg, right? So I'm just going to read, you know, the list and then we can circle back, maybe. Or do you want me just to go one by one? Yeah. So the the five things I have on my list today that aren't the totality of this, but just wanted to kind of get people thinking manipulation or intimidation during direct contacts. You're actually having direct contact with. This person has a history of perpetration and they are charming. They are bullying directly to you as a worker. And and that can can have both those things. The manipulation can and the direct bullying can have a bad guy, right? 

Or statements of I'm going to call your professional, you know, certifying body and complain. 

That's the second one. Oh, you're on the list, you know, which is lawsuits, complaints or threats of complaints or threats of lawsuits to your supervisor or to your manager, to ombudsman's office, to professional boards or to courts. OK, so that's the second big area implied. Are real threats against family members, including your kids. Right? And stalking on online or in real life? Right. And then, you know, it's it's an element that's connected to all of these things, really. But but really looking at intersectionality that that these things can all have different flavors and overtones or emphasis or direction based on gender based on, you know, race that racism plays a part. You know, if you're if you're a black worker and you're working with a perpetrator is also a white supremacist, that that can be part of the threatening or intimidating the overt or kind of implied behavior. Right? You know you. Are targeted because you're gay. Just it just really want to really make that intersectional when you're 30 

authority's targets because you're a black woman, right? Or, you know, your your your professionalism is targeted because of, you know, whatever ethnic gender factors. 

So so going back to the the beginning, the manipulation or the or the the bullying during direct contact, you know, I think that this is one of the most common ones that I want to say about this is I know that when I did work back years ago with male and female probation officers who had domestic violence case loads that the the female probation officers felt like they were much more targeted right for both the manipulation and the bullying. Right, right. That was a real thing, right? And I think that didn't actually mean that the male probation officers weren't being targeted for manipulation. They may have been just less savvy about it. Is what I'm thinking about now. You know that that that if you're if you're less reflective well on how you're being targeted for collusion, but if you 

have power and privilege. Yeah. You know, and you feel secure in your own physicality like you can defend yourself. If somebody attacked you, you're probably not going to be as aware of the subtleties of that type of bullying. 

And also, you know, I remember hearing a conversation related back to me with a male supervisor was saying, Well, I could totally understand why you would act that way towards her. And so, you know, yeah, so being pulled in, so then that's that little bit. We're just trying to get people to feel these are Minnesota and we want to raise the issue lawsuits, complaints, threats or complaints of lawsuits. I can't tell you how prominent this is and how much it needs to be named. 

Yeah. And I think part of the problem is there's that because we protect the right of litigants to bring forth complaints against professionals. And that's a necessary process for holding, you know, practice accountable and professionals accountable. That legitimate means is used as a tool and we have to contextualize it to the violence. We can't separate it out and isolate it. Oh, you have a right to bring this forth. What is the motivation in bringing it forth? What was the stated intent in bringing forth? And most of the time it's to silence and to impede accountability for the perpetrator? 

Ihave seen domestic violence perpetrators take their complaints and harassment attempts all the way up to chief executives in elected officials. I've seen them take it all the way to the administrative heads of agencies. And and I have seen just that process. Those efforts are creating so much distress. I mean, I want to I want to name that the just the distress that creates, even if it doesn't materialize into and, you know, a kind of quote-unquote real consequence. Right. OK, right? Implied are real threats against family members. Yeah, I'm the classic one in my mind is is when somebody says to you, Oh, do you have kids? That there's really, you know, there's there's often the two messages or you don't know anything about my issues of, you know, kids. But the other one is sort of you're already parsing if you're that person, you know where I could do with this information. Right? You know, so that's you know, or we had a case recently where somebody had a history of targeting the spouses, which is just very insidious of the worker. 

And there's been a little bit of professional resistance to looking at threats as part of the pattern of coercive control. And in fact, I have directly had a professional say to me, threats or not actions. But what threats do is they create an environment of fear where the perpetrator is trying to manipulate people into compliance and silence. And it is part of that pattern of behavior and any threats should be logged and documented as part of that pattern towards multiple people. So we can understand the danger that this perpetrator represents not just to the family, but to professionals and the wider community as well, right? 

And I think it's one of the things I'm very wary of. And when I train on this, I always tell people that one of the ways perpetrators have so much power is the way they wear people down and they create an exhausting environment. And part of that exhausting environment is that sense of unpredictability. Potential threat? Yeah. Is he going to follow through? 

It's also the bother of having to deal with with threats all the time. That's right. People fold really easily and really fast. 

And then stalking online or in real life. And this is, you know, that, you know, people coming up with information. It's very scary that to show up to a meeting and somebody have information about you where you don't know where they got it from, how they learned it. Right. And small 

towns looking at your Facebook, 

right? Exactly. Small towns or rural areas or people. Knowing people, you know, it's a real it's a real concern. 

Iwas looking at your Facebook page and you have a nice looking family there. 

That's right. Exactly. That stuff sounds very and it's really hard to document that as a threat, right? It's one of the challenges, right? So in that really, we have to name that that going back to my experience with probation, that women are going to be experiences differently, that if you're you're black or you're from a marginalized group and you're a worker professional, you may experience it differently. So just want to name that again? So what can agencies do about I have I'm going to just run through this was a Minnesota night, and 

just to let her know. We do intend on turning these into guidance to people that is coming first. 

Agencies must why now the concept of worker safety to include intimidation, manipulation, not just explicit threats of violence or actions of violence. That's really basic that that when we talk about worker safety, it can't be just physical violence. The next thing is, this kind of definition of worker safety must be a regular part and a preventative, not reactive part to supervision. If you've got a case with a worker where there's domestic violence discussion of safety, emotional and physical, should it be part of standard? Yeah, case practice not waiting until your worker comes back and says, I'm in, I'm in danger. I'm scared. Staff at agency complaint lines are review boards should be educated around course control and pattern based assessments. Is this complaint that's coming in part of a part of a pattern of harassment and control towards workers or towards family members or both combined? And then performance reviews and human resources need to be considering the impact of threats and intimidation on workers performance, right? You know, we can't claim to be a trauma informed agency. We can't claim to be looking for abuse employment agency without looking at the well-being, the impact cumulative of working in environments with violent offenders on people's performance, their well-being. All right. How do we do? We got that out. We did get that. So this is a Minnesota. This is one of the series and you are. I am. David Mandel, executive director of the Safer Together Institute. 

Ididn't forget who you were. I remember. My name is Ruth starring Mandel, and I am the e-learning, communications and strategic relationship manager. 

And check us now, take us out on safety and answered Comm Academy, Dot Safety on intercom and all our social media platforms. 

And we're out and we're out.