The protective effect of employment policies on intimate partner violence

Kathryn Showalter, Katherine Marçal, Kathryn Maguire-Jack, Kendra M. Eubank, Rujeko O. Machinga, Yanghyun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the late 1990s, states have adopted policies to protect intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors in the workplace. State policymakers and some employers have acknowledged that IPV impacts work, but formal responses vary widely. The current study focuses on examining two state-level policies and their effect on reducing violence outcomes. We utilized two samples of mothers who experienced IPV; one that was employed (N = 1,893) and one mixed sample of employed/unemployed (N = 1,961) in the Future of Families and Wellbeing Study. About 300 survivors in the current study lived in a state with one of the selected protective workplace policies for IPV. Flexible workplace leave or the ability for survivors to take time off of work to address IPV (e.g. attend court hearings, access services, safety plan, etc.) did not have a significant effect on abuse. However, confidentiality, or the right of survivors to privacy upon disclosure of abuse, coupled with leave policies was associated with a significant reduction in IPV. Survivors may benefit especially from confidentiality as it reduces workplace gossip and give survivors the peace-of-mind that employers value their safety. Implications for state policymakers and future research are discussed. Findings indicate supportive workplace policies are effective in reducing violence, but future study of additional policies is needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Workplace Behavioral Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • intimate partner violence
  • public policy analysis
  • Women's employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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