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June 18, 2021

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Domestic abuse

Domestic Abuse: A toolkit for employers

Business in the Community (BITC) points out that employers have a duty of care and a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment. In this toolkit, it sets out advice to help organisations support employees and contribute to tackling domestic abuse.

It has been updated to include information on the Domestic Abuse Act, new resources, initiatives and case studies.

There are 2.3 million victims of domestic abuse each year, according to BITC. Two thirds of whom are women, one third men, and two in ten offences recorded by the police are domestic abuse related. Two women each week and one man each month are killed in England and Wales by a current or former partner. However, it points out that these crimes are underreported, so the correct figures are likely to be higher. Domestic abuse is a hugely destructive problem and we have a collective responsibility to tackle it.

Employers have a duty of care and a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment. Preventing and tackling domestic abuse is an integral part of this. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in new ways of working, with a significant increase in the numbers of people working from home. For those experiencing abuse, the workplace often offers a safe space and a respite away from their abuser. Colleagues and managers can often be the only other people outside the home that survivors talk to each day and are therefore uniquely placed to help spot signs of abuse.

This toolkit aims to help organisation support its employees and contribute to tackling domestic abuse. It offers guidance on measures to implement to respond appropriately when an employee discloses abuse. The toolkit highlights resources for employers and employees, and signposts to external organisations that offer advice and support to employers and employees.

The toolkit has been informed by an evidence review produced by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) into workplace support for victims of domestic abuse.

Its sets out the four “R’s” approach:

  1. Recognise: use the information in this toolkit to help recognise the problem, and to enable managers and employees to understand that domestic abuse is a workplace issue that everyone can play a part in tackling.
  2. Respond: implement policies and processes that enable a supportive workplace which will respond appropriately to disclosure.
  3. Refer: provide access to internal confidential support and signpost appropriately to external organisations who can help employees that disclose abuse.
  4. Record: if an employee discloses abuse, it is important to record the details of what is said as accurately as possible Should the abuse become subject to criminal proceedings, this is an exhibit and should be given to the police.

The domestic abuse toolkit is available here.

Read: ‘Domestic abuse is everybody’s business and people need to take a stand and listen’

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