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Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC

Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC

In The Boardroom With...

Joseph Paul Manley
Founder, Owner
Principal Security Consultant
Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC

Connect with Joseph Paul Manley on LinkedIn

UPDATE 1/4/23: Thank you for joining us again today, Paul. When read with great interest on your LinkedIn Profile, “As a specialist in negligent security, I consult on unsafe conditions related to third-party attacks on visitors and customers of businesses and property owners who allegedly fail to implement reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable crimes. My 30+ years of real-life experience in law enforcement (Police Lt. Ret.), security management, physical security, university teaching, and the study of criminal behavior, provide the framework to serve you as an expert witness in litigation. Through effective communication and applying my experience, I will give you professional unbiased recommendations based solely on your needs and proven industry-accepted best practices and standards as recommended by ASIS, the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, and the International Public Safety Association where I served on its Board.”  

Please tell us more about “negligent security,” your “Security Risk Assessment Process” and the journey your clients take with you to improve their security readiness.

Joseph Paul Manley: Thanks for having me. It’s always a pleasure to be discussing these important topics with you.

Negligent security law is a subset of premises liability law, and stems from situations in which a person is injured by another person and seeks to hold liable the owner or possessor of a premises on which injury occurred. Normally, no one can be held responsible for actions of third parties. However, there are some exceptions. The injured victim (known as the plaintiff in a lawsuit) has legal standing to pursue litigation against a property owner or possessor because the law requires those entities provide reasonable security measures to protect certain individuals from foreseeable harmful acts by third parties.

Basically, had the property owner taken reasonable steps to protect lawful visitors against foreseeable risks, the attack and subsequent injury would not have occurred.

A negligent security claim could be based on anything from poor lighting, poorly trained security personnel, elevator and stairwell attacks, and injuries and deaths that have happened because of workplace violence.

Here are some examples of places in which crimes might occur and issues of negligent security could arise:

  • Bars or restaurants
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals
  • College campuses and dorm rooms
  • Nursing homes and assisted living residences
  • Malls and shopping centers
  • Stadiums
  • Apartment complexes
  • Parks
  • Government buildings
  • Schools
  • Gated communities

It’s worth noting that property owners don’t have to guarantee that everyone who enters the property will be safe or free of harm. What they are required to do is respond appropriately when there is a foreseeable risk.

In weighing whether a risk is foreseeable, courts will analyze where the property is located, how attractive it might be to criminals and whether there is a history of criminal behavior there. For example, owners of a nightclub where two shootings were reported in the last six months would be held to a higher standard in terms of security than a similar business in a low-crime area with no prior violent acts reported.

Similarly, a bar that serves alcohol into the early morning hours will be held to a higher standard of security than a family-style restaurant that closes at 9 p.m.
A college dorm room, for example, is legally obligated to keep the premises free from hazards and to protect the residence in their dorms by keeping the doors to the building’s locked and having guests sign in with security.

Plaintiffs need to show the property owner knew or should have known someone would be victimized on that property, either because the area was high crime or because of the nature of the establishment and the property owners still failed to take reasonable action to mitigate risk.
In many cases, a plaintiff’s legal team will need to hire an expert security consultant who will analyze evidence and testify as to whether the property owner failed to meet those expectations. That security expert witness will need to review the frequency and nature of crimes reported in the area, the kinds of security measures that were taken and whether additional action was reasonably required.

Equally important, plaintiffs need to show they were on the property lawfully. That is, they were not trespassing and were invited as a tenant, social guest, business invitee or member of the public.

Security Risk Assessments are an excellent way to evaluate your existing security program and a great first step to take prior to making security improvements.

Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC’s Security Risk Assessments are based on industry standards and guidelines as recommended by ASIS International, the world’s largest association for security management; and conducted in a method recommended by the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, the most widely respected and recognized security consultant association in the industry.

We customize our Security Risk Assessments for each client, as we understand that each client has individual needs that are unique to their operations. Our purpose is to collaborate with clients to build trust and provide quality services that promote professionalism, ensures fiscal responsibility, reduces the risk of crime, reduces the fear of crime, and promotes safety.

During our assessment, all aspects of your security program are examined, weaknesses are identified, and suggestions for security improvements are made. In addition, opportunities where costs can be reduced or where security operations can be made more efficient are identified.

As I mentioned, our practice is to follow industry best practices and established industry standards and guidelines, as we feel that these are proven methods and can offer the most protection for the client. This assessment process is constantly evolving, allowing us to take advantage of lessons learned from previous assessments, and to keep up with the latest security best practices.

Our Security Risk Assessment uses a structured, formal analysis process that allows us to develop a deep understanding of your business, properties, operating conditions, corporate culture, and unique security risks and threats.

While client involvement is crucial to success, we facilitate the assessment every step of the way, keeping the project on track, and making sure that all essential elements are examined.

So, what can you expect when we conduct a Security Assessment at your facility?

The budget number that we provide you will be firm. So, unless there is a change order, an addendum, or amendments to the project’s scope approved in writing by you the client in advance, you will not pay a penny more than our quoted budget for the project.

We don't sell security equipment or software; therefore, these items are NOT included in our pricing. We greatly value our independence and go out of our way to avoid business arrangements that pose a potential for a conflict of interest.

Prior to coming to your site, we will request several documents for our use during the assessment. These typically include plans of the site and buildings, copies of any existing security policies and procedures, samples of several types of forms, company telephone directory, employee handbook, and other related items. We only want what you already have; if there is something on our request list that is not available, it is not a problem.

We will collaborate with you to identify the people within your organization that we would like to interview. The goal is to get a good cross-representation of all the major operating and support departments within your organization. We include members of senior leadership, department heads, and people who occupy roles which are related to security, such as building receptionist’s, security officers, and shipping/receiving personnel. The typical interview session lasts between 45 and 60 minutes.

When we first arrive on site, we will start by conducting an in-depth interview with the person who presently serves as “security manager” for the facility. This may be an actual security manager or may be the facilities manager or other person who manages the security function for the organization. This interview session covers a lot of details, and typically takes 2 to 3 hours. After this interview, we ask this person to give us a brief guided tour of the facility.

At the conclusion of the interviews, we will conduct detailed inspections of certain areas of the facility and site. We may also spend extended periods of time observing certain areas of your facility, such as the building lobby or shipping/receiving loading docks.

During evening hours, we will be onsite to observe the night operations of the campus, and we will conduct a lighting assessment of the building’s exterior and parking areas.

At the conclusion of our visit to your site, we will meet with you to give you an update on our progress and to discuss the next steps in the process. At this point it may be possible to offer some preliminary findings and recommendations, but in most cases, we will need time to process and analyze the data gathered before we can give you any meaningful guidance.

We then return to our office and begin our formal Security Assessment process. During this process, we identify your critical assets, analyze potential threats, review loss history, study crime forecasts for your site, evaluate existing security measures, and identify potential weaknesses and areas for improvements. At the conclusion of this process, we begin to write the Security Assessment Report. It normally takes between two and three weeks from the time we complete our site visit to the time when we complete our draft report.

While we are preparing the report, we often uncover things that require further investigation and study. In some cases, this may require that we return to the site to conduct additional interviews or to examine certain things more closely. We may also request certain additional documents or other information that is available from within your organization.

We will send you a draft copy of the Security Assessment Report for your review once it is completed. After you have had an opportunity to digest the document, we will meet with you in person or via teleconference to review the report in detail and respond to any of your questions or comments.
After we have obtained your input, we will prepare a final Security Assessment Report that incorporates your comments. If desired, we can make a formal presentation of the Security Assessment Report to your senior management team or others.

At the conclusion of the assessment process, we remain available to assist you with implementation of the recommendations contained within our report. This can include identifying vendors and sources of products and services, reviewing bid proposals, developing security policies and procedures, providing training, and assisting in other ways. Your LinkedIn tips and discussions are extremely useful, Paul, and we encourage all our readers to connect with you on LinkedIn to immediately benefit from your expertise and insights in a wide range of security topics such as:

  • As a business owner, do you have a plan for communicating with employees in the event of a security emergency?
  • If your workplace experiences a violent situation or can prevent one from occurring, are you following up with an analysis?
  • To de-escalate a situation – “treat people with dignity.”
  • Why has domestic violence in the workplace been a hidden threat?

Please give us an overview of the Security Consulting, Services and Training you provide.

Joseph Paul Manley: We are a full-service security consultancy specializing in Forensic Security Consulting for matters arising from personal injury/death, premises liability, negligent security, and violent crime victimization.

In addition to expert witness support, we are Board Certified Workplace Violence & Threat Specialists, Certified Crisis Intervention Specialists, and Law Enforcement and Security Instructors with extensive training and experience in security and risk assessments of all venues, including critical infrastructure.
We can help you create a safer and more productive environment by helping you reduce your operational risk and preventing safety and security incidents from occurring. In other words, we help businesses stay in business.

Our multidisciplinary approach looks at safety and security from every angle to mitigate risks—from the physical environment to the human element to the role of technology.

We deliver expert consulting and litigation support that will help all groups in business and government sectors make more knowledgeable decisions and reduce their risks.

Aside from our consultations, litigation support, and keynotes, we offer training programs to both private and public entities that will lower the risk of injury, reduce potential liability, and improve relationships both in and out of the workplace.

Our evidence informed; experience applied programs combine academic research with significant “real life” experience.

Our courses are designed to provide the knowledge and skills that you and your employees need to be able to recognize threats, inappropriate and concerning behavior, intervene in a non-confrontational manner and respond appropriately to protect themselves and others.
We are experienced trainers with experience teaching in higher education. Our courses that are highly interactive, engaging and use positive reinforcement, in a story-telling format.

Our goal is to provide a memorable learning experience for you and your employees. We leverage “real life” experiences, education, and research to create an engaging training session.

Examples of our Trainings Include:

  • Workplace Violence Mitigation & Programming
  • Behavior Awareness & Verbal De-escalation
  • Law enforcement & Security Training
  • Scenario Based Training
  • Situational Awareness
  • Domestic Violence Training for Awareness and Advocacy

Every employer needs to have a policy that addresses the issue of domestic violence. Your policy should be comprehensive and apart from a workplace violence prevention plan or harassment policy.
As with any business initiative, executive buy-in and a comprehensive plan are essential because the program’s success will depend on its integration into the company’s culture and business practices.
An effective Workplace Domestic Violence Program must include training. A segment of our Workplace Domestic Violence Training teaches employees to recognize the signs of domestic violence (or intimate partner violence) and how to direct both abusers and victims to resources and help. It’s been my experience that presenting the issue in a group setting can reduce any embarrassment or shame that many victims feel. You must make this mandatory training. People that need to hear the message get the opportunity to hear it, but don’t feel that they self-identified as an abuser or victim just because they voluntarily went to the session. If you don’t make it mandatory, people won’t go. Also, this training should include issues of privacy and confidentiality.

Here are some critical statistics surrounding intimate partner violence (IPV):

  • IPV affects over twelve million people annually
  • Almost half of both women and men have experienced physical aggression from their partner
  • Although women are more often victims of IPV, 4% of men also report domestic violence
  • Almost 33% of women killed on the job in the U.S. were killed by an intimate partner

I find these statistics alarming. To protect your employees and the people you serve, domestic violence training is crucial. Workplace Domestic Violence Training must outline how to respond sensitively and confidentially when victimized employees are identified; how to communicate with a victim or a perpetrator, and what referrals are available.

Most violence is preventable, and the chances of violence are significantly reduced if people practice good violence prevention and crisis communication skills. After all, how you manage conflict and aggressive behavior is extremely important regardless of your profession. Your safety may depend on it. You must have strategies for ensuring personal safety in potentially stressful situations.

In any conflict you have a choice, you can either escalate the incident further or you can de-escalate the situation. Escalating conflict doesn’t resolve anything. Personally, I’d rather de-escalate conflict. We offer De-escalation strategies and techniques that can have great benefits for you and your organization. For example,

  • Less workplace violence incidents
  • Less use of force incidents
  • Decreased disciplinary actions
  • Decreased customer complaints
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Less stress

There are Two Key Concepts you need to Remember

  1. Reasoning with an angry person is not possible. The goal of de-escalation is to reduce the level of agitation so that discussion becomes possible.
  2. De-escalation techniques are inherently abnormal. They go against our natural ‘fight or flight’ reflexes. To be effective, we must remain calm and centered. We need to be professionally detached.

Therefore, these skills require practice to become useful.

A well-trained staff within your organization is critical to success in today’s highly competitive and challenging environment.

I want to emphasize that our training programs are practical and engaging, designed to raise awareness without creating fear, and focus on developing new behaviors. After all, knowledge is key. Our programs are always tailored to meet your unique needs and challenges. The headlines shocked us all again on November 22, 2022, "6 victims shot and killed in a Virginia Walmart". What is your take-aways, Paul, from this tragic situation?

Joseph Paul Manley: Although I have not analyzed the police reports or any factual analysis, I will say the Virginia Walmart shooting is another example of why we must have violence prevention training at work.

Many companies provide active shooter training. However, more focus is needed on how to prevent workplace violence, particularly how to identify and address problematic behavior.
A lot of time has been spent on trying to figure out the best way to lock bad guys out. We are heavily invested in physical security measure like metal detectors, cameras, and armed protection officers, but too often in workplace shootings, the “bad guy” already has access to the building.

When I talk to people about behavior awareness and workplace violence prevention, I am stunned how many people don’t know how to recognize warning signs, and they don’t know how to report suspicious or problematic behavior. Most people do not even feel empowered to do so for one reason or another.

The Walmart shooting is a prime example.

The reality is most people think they will never become involved in a workplace violence incident until it happens. Now more than ever, it’s important to prepare for them because they are becoming more commonplace. Any upcoming speaking engagements we should know about?

Joseph Paul Manley: I do. I will be speaking on January 24, 2023, at the Enterprise Center on the campus of Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. The subject matter is Customer Service:

De-escalating Difficult Customers.

Business owners and frontline employees interact with a variety of customers and behavior. This inter-active workshop will help front line personnel with situational awareness and strategies to recognize and respond to problematic behavior. Participants will learn about body language, tone of voice and active/reflective listening to de-escalate situations and create a safer and more productive environment.

The workshop is being Co-Sponsored by Salem Main Streets, and the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development. Salem Main Streets is a coalition of Salem Massachusetts residents and business owners focused on strengthening the downtown’s economic base and working to gradually expand it by helping existing businesses become safer and stronger. The North Shore Alliance works with the business community; local, municipal, and state elected officials; economic development organizations; institutions of higher education; the regional and local Chambers of Commerce; workforce development professionals and many others on collaborative economic development issues.

As you know, I have been informing and entertaining audiences as a speaker on optimizing workplace safety and security initiatives for more than 25 years.

My stuff is relevant. Your organization needs data from legitimate sources to make superior decisions. The narratives I bring are jammed full of the information leaders need after my workshop or presentation is done. This one is no exception. I am being told that the response has been excellent. It should be a full house. To be honest, I am really looking forward to it. Thank you again for joining us today, Paul? Is there anything else you would like to discuss today?

Joseph Paul Manley: Yes, thank you. I want people to understand that the risk of targeted violence is substantial. Anyone or any organization can be at risk.
Recent reports of workplace violence coupled with an increase in certain violent crimes, generally means it’s time for employers to update their workplace violence prevention and mitigation plans. Have you?

Here’s something I want the audience to think about.

If You Haven’t Assessed Your Security Risks in the Past Three Years,

  • Are you confident your security program is prioritizing the risks that pose the greatest threat?
  • Can you state with certainty that your organization is using best security practices to control and manage your vulnerabilities?
  • Will you be able to withstand the scrutiny of an OSHA investigation or properly defend against a negligent security or premises liability allegation?

Think of it this way, the assessment is an evaluation of your readiness. It is your chance to get out ahead of it, cover yourself, protect your employees, customers, invited guests and your business before something happens. It’s hard to put a price on that.

If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us. We would be happy to talk with you about your security needs at no cost or obligation.

Board Certified Workplace Violence & Threat Specialist

Joseph Paul Manley
Founder, Owner
Principal Security Consultant
Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC

Paul has been a public safety professional for more than 30 years and has more than 12 years of college teaching experience educating students in criminal justice, behavioral sciences, and security studies.

Aside from being this company's founder, Paul is a retired Lieutenant and Executive Officer for a Massachusetts Police Department. He graduated from Anna Maria College with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration and served on the Board of Directors of the International Public Safety Association.

Paul is holding several industry specific credentials to include Board-Certified Workplace Violence and Threat Specialist (WVTS), Certified De-escalation Instructor (NCI), Certified Protection Officer Instructor (CPOI), Certified Situational Awareness Advanced Practitioner (SAS-AP), and a Certified Crisis Intervention Specialist (CCIS), among others. Paul is a member of several professional associations to include the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, ASIS, the International Public Safety Association, the National Anger Management Association, and the Crisis Prevention Institute.

Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC offers litigation support, various safety training courses and independent consulting services.

We offer case review, expert testimony, and consultation on security standards and best practices in all areas of security negligence and premises liability, with special expertise in Workplace Place Violence and Threat Management.

Venues we have worked with include hospitals, hotels, bars, apartment complexes, condominium associations, schools, universities, retail outlets and public spaces. We collaborate with both plaintiff and defense counsel. Thank you for joining us today, Paul. It’s an honor to speak to speak with you – as a public safety professional for more than 30 years and retired Lieutenant and Executive Officer for a Massachusetts Police Department, your background, credentials, and experience are truly impressive. Before we discuss in detail the services capabilities of your firm, Risk Mitigation Technologies, please tell us more about your impressive background.

Joseph Paul Manley: Thank you for having me. Many know that I have made it my mission to drive continuous safety by evaluating security risks, creating crisis interventions plans, developing policies, and providing training, education, consulting and management for clients and citizens with diverse security needs.

I help people both in and out of business create a safer and more productive environment by helping them manage their risk and preventing safety and security incidents from occurring.

Utilizing my real-life experiences in Security Management and Law Enforcement and Physical Security consulting, I will give you professional unbiased recommendations based solely on your needs and proven industry accepted best practices and standards. You will benefit from my deep understanding of the security challenges organizations face when addressing acts of targeted violence or threatening behavior because I have studied, evaluated, planned for, and responded to them with risk mitigation strategies that have proved effective. One will read on your site, “At Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC, we can help you manage your risk, build resilience and protect your assets. We have consulted with and trained public agencies and private companies in a classroom setting and on the job.” Please give us an overview, Paul, of the services you provide.

Joseph Paul Manley: In July 2016, I launched Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC. Since that time, we have designed and managed an effective security operation plan for Salem's annual Halloween event of 1,000+ attendees at a Massachusetts hotel, ensuring optimal safety, security, and a peaceful event. For a Metro Boston university, we collaborated with University Administrators to build a world-class security operational management plan that minimized risk and maximized security for 3,000+ participants at the university's commencement in Metro Boston. We have also conducted a security evaluation for an elementary school in Massachusetts, improving security and reducing labor costs by using advanced technologies.

Leveraging more than 30 years of working as a law enforcement officer, particularly in the physical security realm, we are able to address the growing need in the private sector for comprehensive vulnerability studies on critical infrastructure.

We also provide expert workplace violence prevention solutions that help prepare you and your employees to detect, prevent, respond, and recover from emergency situations in and out of the workplace. Our workplace violence prevention training utilizes a story-based approach with nuanced scenarios. Learners must decide how they would respond to several issues that could arise in a workplace violence situation.

We talk a lot about situational awareness and strategies to recognize and respond to aggressive behavior. One way of responding is using practical de-escalation strategies that work. During this segment of the program our presentation covers three core concepts that I believe are the foundation for de-escalation aggressive behaviors.

1. Body language
2. Tone of voice
3. Active/Reflective listening

Joseph Paul Manley
Founder, Owner
Principal Security Consultant
Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLCDuring the power point lecture, we share firsthand experiences to highlight how the three core concepts work. There are several short videos that also highlight and demonstrate the three core concepts. The videos are geared towards how to recognize and respond to aggressive behaviors. In addition, your staff will go through dynamic, realistic scenarios which will help develop stress inoculation, muscle memory, self-confidence, and confidence in each other. You and your staff will also get real time feedback as to what was done right and what can be tweaked and done differently. Because the course provides opportunities for the participants to participate in practical skill building, when they complete the training, they are well on their way to becoming more effective professionals in communication.

What I want to emphasize is our programs are practical and engaging, designed to raise awareness without creating fear, and focus on developing new behaviors.

Advocating and caring for someone experiencing a crisis can be extremely stressful. It’s important to have a plan in place, know the best techniques to de-escalate the situation and know where to turn when you need help.

We offer case review, expert testimony, and consultation on security standards and best practices in all areas of security negligence and premises liability, with special expertise in Workplace Place Violence Prevention and Threat Management. We are available to consult and testify on crime foreseeability, risk assessment, workplace violence detection, prevention, response and recovery, private and corporate training, and industry standards. Our experience in law enforcement and public safety, security management, physical security consulting and university teaching provides us the framework to serve as expert witnesses in litigation.

As a professional speaker my presentations are based on real-life experiences and solid information. I have been researching and analyzing what puts people at risk or protects them from violence for years. Your organization needs data from legitimate sources to make superior decisions. The narratives are jammed full of the information leaders need after the speech is done. Every presentation given is packed full of recent examples and the latest information, straight out of my personal database. All my talks are tailored to meet your needs. The Case Studies here and Testimonials about your services speak volumes about the respect and confidence that your clients have for you, Paul, and your firm. Please tell us more about your Special Event Security Services and Elementary School Security Plans.

Joseph Paul Manley: Risk Mitigation technologies, LLC is the premier provider of security services for special events, from shareholder meetings, boards of directors’ meetings, discreet private events, and major celebrations, to highly publicized conferences and high-profile spectator events.

It was a matter of weeks after launching Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC that the organizers of a high-profile annual event was concerned about their ability to react effectively to disruptive incidents that might occur at the annual Haunted Happenings events taking place at a downtown Salem, Massachusetts hotel. There were layers of uncoordinated security infrastructure including the private security teams of high net worth and celebrity attendees, high profile political and government officials as well as government security forces, and emergency services.

We were engaged to redesign, implement, and manage a security plan for the event comprising of a proactive and reactive intervention capability. We provided a detailed evaluation of the threats surrounding the event, practical mitigation strategies and crisis management support in case of a serious incident. We trained security, safety and emergency support teams working within the event to ensure an effective response to incidents that utilized the capabilities of each group.

The client relied upon our expertise to ensure that the risk of disruptive incidents was mitigated to the greatest extent possible and could be effectively confined if they were to occur. The client also relied upon Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC’s wider risk mitigation capability. This gave the client peace of mind and enhanced the overall safety of the event.

Our meticulous planning, preparation and global expertise allow our clients to focus on the narrative of their events and any pressing business at hand in a safe and secure operating environment for all concerned.

We were engaged by an elementary school in Massachusetts who were looking for a comprehensive security program.

The Main building on campus and monitoring vehicle traffic provided unique security challenges. The school sought recommendations on improving the institute’s overall security program and a way to monitor traffic flow in and out of the campus. We were contacted to see what security solutions we could provide. We conducted a detailed Risk Assessment to determine security needs and proposed a customized, integrated program. Collaborating with the School’s Technology team, the school was provided a detailed map of the camera locations. The types of equipment/services recommended included:

  • Exterior cameras in selected locations around the facility to monitor communal areas and enhance the overall security of the campus.
  • Two high-definition video surveillance cameras with analytics technology at the main entrance to monitor vehicles.
  • A high-quality CCTV system with remote viewing access and remote video surveillance capabilities.
  • A Network Video Recorder (NVR) via a wireless access point

The school community was incredibly happy with the outcome. The Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC security program now in place has benefited the school by providing an overall enhancement of campus security and reducing labor costs. The cameras with analytic technology provide a count of vehicles entering and exiting the campus. The remote viewing capabilities assist the staff with monitoring the entire campus. The NVR provides a record of activity around the school property during sporting and other events. We understand Paul that domestic violence is a particular area of passion of yours and we read with great interest in your blog, “Domestic Violence is a hidden threat because businesses typically do not know that there could be an employee with a domestic violence problem. Often, even if the employer does know, the information usually does not end up in the hands of the security team or upper management who are able to help the employee. Therefore, the entire organization is at risk if there is a domestic violence victim in the organization and nobody knows about it. They do not know how to help because they do not know there is a problem, and the security team does not know who to keep an eye out for because they have not been alerted.” We couldn’t agree more about this “hidden threat”. Please elaborate on this subject for us?

Joseph Paul Manley: When we think of domestic violence, we typically don’t think about the workplace, but we should because domestic violence has no boundaries, and doesn’t stay at home. We need to change our thinking.

Domestic Violence is a hidden threat because businesses typically do not know that there could be an employee with a domestic violence problem. If they do know about it, they are reluctant to dig into employees’ personal lives. Often, the information does not end up in the hands of the security team or upper management who are able to help the employee. Therefore, the entire organization is at risk if there is a domestic violence victim in the organization and nobody knows about it. They do not know how to help because they do not know there is a problem, and the security team does not know who to keep an eye out for because they have not been alerted.

In a recent survey completed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 21 percent of full-time employed adults said they were victims of domestic violence and 74 percent of that group said they’ve been harassed at work. Yet 65 percent of companies don’t have a formal workplace domestic violence prevention policy, according to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Only 20 percent offer training on domestic violence, the 2020 survey found.

One in every four women and one in ten men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence lose nearly eight million days of paid work per year in the U.S., resulting in a $1.8 billion loss in productivity for employers. These statistics are disturbing.

Ignorance of the issue is no longer an excuse for employers. You owe it to your employees to keep them safe. The Centers for Disease Control reports that alarmingly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes. In the U.S., an average of twenty people experiences intimate partner physical violence every minute, which equates to more than ten million abuse victims annually, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Domestic violence affects people of any race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, or economic status; anyone can be a victim or offender of domestic violence.

The biggest impact an employer can make for his or her employees in terms of having a domestic violence policy is through education. Executive buy-in and a comprehensive plan are essential for a companywide initiative. Also, it is important that the workplace have an open-door policy so employees will feel like they have someone with whom they can talk. If we incorporate this into our ongoing educational training, employees may be more willing to talk with someone.

Safety must be a top priority because domestic violence thrives in a culture of silence. Workplaces and communities can support victims, their children, and families by working together to create a safe working environment through awareness, education, and a commitment to safety and security as part of a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program. The world we live in has certainly changed quite a bit during the past couple of years. Violence where we work, where we live and send our kids to schools, Covid, political unrest, a breakdown of law & order in some parts of the country, and other security issues are, unfortunately, headline news all the time. In this constant threat environment, what is your message about “best practices” that we should be thinking about to minimize risk and provide greater safety and protection.

Joseph Paul Manley: The best way to keep yourself safe is to be aware of your surroundings. Knowing your surroundings and being aware of potential hazards will help you avoid unnecessary or dangerous situations. Best practices are important for processes that you need to work correctly. They are simply the best way to do things and have been worked out through trial and error and are found to be the most sensible way to proceed. Given the broad impact a single workplace violence incident can have; employers should consider these two best practices when reviewing or developing a workplace violence prevention program.

1. Conduct Thorough Background Checks

An employer’s first line of defense against hiring individuals who may present a risk of engaging in workplace violence is to conduct background screening. If an individual has a history of violence or abuse, they may go to great lengths to hide that history from a future employer. Ex-offenders may not disclose it during the interview process or may use false identifying information such as an incorrect social security number, name, or home address to escape detection. Recommended background checks include criminal record, driving record, credit check, sex offender registry, employment eligibility verification, professional reference checks and Social Security checks. Such searches can help reveal any false identifying information or negative past behaviors that would increase an individual’s risk of committing violent acts.

2. Implement A Violence Prevention Policy

As with any companywide initiative, executive buy-in and a comprehensive plan are essential. The violence prevention policy should explicitly state the consequences of making threats or committing acts of violence in the workplace. A comprehensive workplace violence prevention policy and program should also include procedures and responsibilities to be taken in the event of aggressive behavior or a violent incident in the workplace. Its goal should be to make employees, including supervisors and managers, aware of the potential for violence in the workplace, to increase their abilities to recognize early warning signs of potentially violent situations, and to understand how to respond to actual or potential incidents. Again, as with any companywide initiative, executive buy-in and a comprehensive plan are essential.

To ensure that any threats or violent acts are dealt with in a timely and effective manner, employers should consider identifying multiple channels through which concerns can be reported, including a hotline and dedicated HR appointee. The SHRM Workplace Violence Study found that 78 percent of organizations with more than 2,500 workers leverage a dedicated hotline.

Regardless of the reporting methods chosen, if employees are aware of reporting channels or protocols, they are more likely to report potential concerns. This reduces the risk of a violent offender remaining at large to commit further abuses. Having a reporting protocol in place, also provides a source of empowerment and guidance to victims, who might otherwise be hesitant to act due to stress and intimidation. Having a policy and good procedures demonstrates your commitment to tackling violence and ensuring the safety of your staff. You should make sure that all your staff, including new and part-time employees, are aware of these procedures and policies and know what they are expected to do.

Despite the benefits, best practices alone don't guarantee the success of an organization. For one thing, they won't always be applicable to every single instance; they only serve as guidelines. Also, they are only as good as the managers who implement them. Let’s talk about your teaching, mentoring, and speaking activities for a moment. Please fill us in.

Joseph Paul Manley: I am blessed with having more than 12 years of college teaching experience educating students in criminal justice, behavioral sciences, and security studies. What I love most about teaching is that I get to do something that might have a real impact, even a small one.

While at North Shore Community College, I taught Intro to Sociology, Intro to Criminal Justice, Criminology, Law Enforcement Management and Planning, Criminal Investigations and Crisis Intervention. At Endicott College I have taught the American Court System and Intimate Partner and Family Violence.

Mentoring future generations of public safety and security personnel is a privilege and responsibility that is why as a founding member of the International Public Safety Association I helped drive the development and implementation of the Mentoring Committee. Currently I am volunteering my time as a mentor with ASIS Security Leaders Mentoring Program.

Because I enjoy actively participating in the learning process I often speak on public safety and security related topics. For example, when speaking on “Recognizing and Responding to Aggressive Behaviors in The Workplace,” you learn simple, effective ways to protect yourself, your co-workers, and as an employer, your employees. This interactive program focuses on enabling individuals to rapidly identify early signs of potentially aggressive or threatening behavior and provide tactics to respond to those situations appropriately and safely.

One of the tactics that I teach is Verbal De-escalation Strategies. Verbal de-escalation can help you regain control of a situation before it turns violent. It can also promote a culture of safety where employees feel less anxious around unpredictable customers. Being prepared does not mean being paranoid.

We have been fortunate to present to various mavens including healthcare workers, retail, hospitality, college educators, public safety, security, HR professionals, and students, etc. Thank you again for joining us today, Paul. We look forward to future updates. Are there any other subjects you would like to talk about today?

Joseph Paul Manley: We are an independent security consultancy. Independence means integrity. Our consultation, advice, and expertise are based on real-life experiences, education, best practices, and professional industry guidelines. We do not endorse or recommend any security product or outside technology vendor. We may enlist the expertise of other consultants; however, we always ensure they prescribe to the same set of industry guidelines.

With any industry professional, you expect a security consultant and advisor to possess advanced education, industry specific training, and a significant level of real-life experience; Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration, Board Certified Workplace Violence & Threat Specialist, Certified Crisis Intervention Specialist and more than 30 years of real-life public safety and security experience validates these qualifications and enhances the value of our service to your organization.

Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC