Domestic Violence incidents account for almost 25% of all reported violent crime, with UK Police receiving a call for assistance once every minute. Domestic violence results in the death of 2 women per week.
As well as the individual toll that this takes statistics show that there is also a big impact for employers:
In England and Wales £1.9 billion a year is lost in economic output due to decreased productivity, administrative difficulties from unplanned time off, lost wages and sick pay. Domestic abuse can cause employees to be distracted at work, arrive late, leave early or miss work, and can increase employee turnover.
In the UK, in any one year, more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence, and 2% lose their jobs as a direct result of the abuse
75% of women who experience domestic abuse are targeted at work – from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced, to physical assaults.
What can employers Do?
As an employer, you have a responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment that responds to your employees' needs.
A workplace policy that responds to domestic abuse is essential – it should make a clear statement that as an organisation you will not tolerate any form of violence or abuse either within the workplace or outside. It will also demonstrate a commitment to responding with sensitivity to employees who need help and support and to taking action against perpetrators of domestic violence.
This policy should consider;
Leave / Flexible Working Does the organisation offer special leave or flexible working arrangements to allow employees time to address practical issues such as going to court, solicitor appointments, counselling without fear of losing their jobs.
Awareness In order to raise awareness of the organisation's domestic violence policy, leaflets could be made available to all staff and be included in induction packs and posters advertising local services can be displayed
Commitment to Training Training should be provided to managers, HR officers and supervisors to promote the identification of likely victims / survivors and perpetrators, and how such cases should be dealt with.
Safety When abuse has been disclosed an organisation can help promote safety – changing phone numbers and email addresses, having robust lone working policies and being aware of building security can make employees feel more secure. Carrying out a workplace risk assessment for both the victim and other employees can be helpful in identifying specific issues.
Confidentiality Information regarding a disclosure must remain completely confidential unless with the victim's express permission.
It is important to remember that the role of a manager is not to deal with the abuse itself but to make it clear through a workplace policy that employees will be supported and to outline what help is available.
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Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like support or advice in dealing with domestic violence or would in the workplace.