White House asks agencies to draft domestic violence policies
Federal departments and agencies need to review and update their policies related to domestic violence, according to an April 18 memo from President Barack Obama.
Agencies are to provide the Office of Personnel Management with existing, agency-specific policies and practices for addressing the effects of domestic violence on its workforce by July 17, 2012. Then one month later they are to develop or modify those domestic violence policies and submit them to OPM.
Upon reviewing agency plans, OPM will issue guidance on the proposed agency-specific policies by Dec. 14, 2012. OPM will also establish a process for providing technical assistance to agencies and determine whether further guidance is warranted to address sexual assault and stalking in particular.
The memo notes that the impact of domestic violence is felt at work through lost productivity, interpersonal problems and healthcare costs.
"As the Nation's largest employer, the Federal Government should act as a model in responding to the effects of domestic violence on its workforce," wrote Obama.
The memo coincides with White House efforts to have the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, PL 103-322 (.pdf), reauthorized. The New York Times reports that reauthorization passed along clear partisan lines in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The act would continue to fund programs for battered women, "include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence and allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas," writes the Times.
In an April 23 memo (.pdf), the White House urged the Senate to pass the legislation.
"Let's agree on what we agree on," said Vice President Joe Biden during an April 18 event at the White House.
"If you try to do it all you can't generate a consensus. And the single most important thing is for us to have a cultural consensus that this is a God-awful problem," he said.