Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) might be a standard benefit at most large companies, but a new study from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and RTI International found that EAPs often fail to identify individuals who either abuse or have the potential to abuse their intimate partner.

The CDC estimates the annual costs of lost productivity due to intimate partner violence victimization at more than $700 million, with more than 7.9 million paid workdays lost each year in the U.S. Although victims often have the most visible impact to an organization, negative consequences stem from perpetration too, especially in work performance and productivity. Perpetrators might miss work, show up late or leave early, and have difficulty concentrating on their work or produce errors on the job.

Lead study author Jennifer L. Hardison Walters, MSW, said that the vast majority of workers who interfaced with their EAP for alcohol abuse treatment were engaging in abusive behaviors toward their partners, and that other factors associated with a risk of abuse perpetration include depression, personality disorders and marital conflict and instability.

Out of the 28 EAPs evaluated, only three reported that their standard assessment covers risk for intimate partner violence, and none reported a tool or protocol which specifically asks about perpetration. Many offered the same services to perpetrators as to victims, despite that these services would not be relevant for addressing perpetration of abuse.