How to make your workplace a safe space for employees

For many, stress at work is connected to coping with how much they have to do or clashes with colleagues, but have you ever considered that it could be the result of domestic abuse?

Home Office figures show that 75% of people who endure domestic abuse will be targeted in the workplace.

And the consequences of this are significant. Domestic abuse has a profound impact which goes far beyond what they face at home at home, with 1 in 5 survivors needing to take time off work due to abuse.

Domestic abuse reduces performance at work, increases absenteeism and may lead to mental illness.

But do employers know how to respond?

Given that one in four women, and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, the vast majority of employers will have some people who have faced or are facing domestic abuse, either as victims, witnesses, or perpetrators.

And it’s not just about performance. Employers have a strong legal responsibility around domestic abuse. Many are shocked when they realise that under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 they could be held liable for failing to protect employees from domestic abuse.

Employers should have a domestic abuse policy which sets out how they will support anyone targeted while at work.

At the very least, employees should display materials including details of where help is available locally, whether on the premises or on the company intranet.  By doing this employers are showing they recognise domestic abuse is an issue, helping to make it easier for staff to tell a colleague, manager or HR department that they are affected.

Sadly, whether it is through ignorance of an “uncomfortable subject”, lack of resources or simply a lack of training, companies are not doing what they could or should.

But with a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Act in the pipeline and the Government pledging more money to help those affected, it is time that companies started to act.

Reach out for support in the workplace

Organisations like Broxtowe Women’s Project can provide posters and leaflets to companies as well as articles for use in staff newsletters and company intranets.

We can also help write policies and can offer training to organisations to help them meet their legal obligations, reduce risks and support their staff.

You can find out more about the Government’s latest review to improve support in the workplace for survivors of domestic abuse by visiting their website.

For further details or to request help, please email us using enquiries@broxtowewp.org.