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Definition of abuse

Partners Employee Assistance Program
The EAP is a free and confidential work and life resource. Partners EAP offers assistance through consultation, short-term counseling, referral, resources and educational seminars. Services are available to all employees and medical staff, and their household members. Call Monday through Friday, 8am - 5pm to schedule an appointment. 
Domestic Violence Coordinator at Partners Employee Assistance Program
The Domestic Violence Coordinator is available to provide a variety of services to employees affected by domestic violence.
For more information go to:


  • Communicate your concerns for the employee's safety.  Communicate that you are concerned for the safety of her/his children if there are any. 
  • Tell the employee that you believe her/him and that what is happening is wrong.  No one deserves to be hurt.  (The abuser may say, "You made me do it, it's your fault.")
  • Tell the employee that the Partners EAP and MGH Police and Security can help with safety planning, based on the wishes and needs of the employee.
  • Be clear that your role is to try to help and not to judge.  The employee needs to know that someone cares, will listen and can help her/him find the right resources.
  • Refer to the EAP as a resource with expertise in counseling employees who are living with domestic violence and knowledge about services. If the employee chooses not to use the EAP, reiterate safety and refer to other Hospital and community resources, such as HAVEN at MGH or Safelink, the Massachusetts Hotline 877-785-2020.
  • Discuss concerns about the employee's situation confidentially with the EAP for consultation and support as needed, with Security if there is a concern about workplace safety, or with Human Resources regarding Earned Time or Paid Time Off, leaves and performance issues.  Do not discuss the employee’s situation with anyone else without permission.


  • Why don’t you just leave?
  • What did you do to provoke your partner?  
  • Why did you wait so long to tell someone? 
  • Don’t use labels such as “battered” or “abused.”
  • Don’t tell the employee what she/he must do.


  • If possible, rework the employee’s work assignment or schedule to decrease stress.
  • Follow up to see how the employee is doing.  Ask general questions such as “How are you doing?” “How are things going?”
  • Respect the employee’s privacy, even if you think she/he is still in an abusive relationship.
  • Maintain your relationship as manager/supervisor, not as counselor.

In order to avoid arousing an abuser’s suspicion, an employee may want to seek help during the workday.  If possible, rearrange the work schedule so that there is time during lunch or breaks.
A domestic violence survivor may choose to stay in or return to an abusive relationship out of fear for safety, economic survival, religious convictions, or out of shame. As managers and supervisors, it is not our place to counsel the employee or express frustration, but rather to refer to resources if the employee is willing.




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