DOJ announces anti-stalking policy

The Justice Department on Wednesday unveiled a new set of rules meant to tamp down domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking among the ranks of its workers, becoming the first agency to respond to a government-wide directive from President Obama.

Obama in April of last year ordered federal agencies to develop and adopt new policies, citing federal statistics linking domestic violence to millions of injuries each year, and $8 billion annually in lost productivity and healthcare costs.

“The effects of domestic violence don’t just remain within the walls of the home,” Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole said during a speech Wednesday. “They affect all of us who live and work with victims and survivors, their children, and other loved ones, and it takes a terrible toll on our communities.”

The Justice Department policy will cover roughly 114,000 federal workers at 53 agencies, offices and other components under the DOJ umbrella. They include the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country.

Under the new policy, the heads of each component are responsible for ensuring the investigation of any reports of stalking, domestic violence or sexual assaults in the workplace.

It requires them to take disciplinary action against any DOJ employee found guilty of one of the crimes and maintain lists of resources available to employees who have been victimized or wish to report an offense.

All department employees will receive training on the new policy, Cole said during his remarks.
“It is our hope that our policy will serve as a model to other government agencies and to the private sector for addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and their impacts on the workplace,” he said.