Does your workplace have a domestic abuse policy and strategy in place?

Does your workplace have a domestic abuse policy and strategy in place?

Between March 2019 and March 2020, 1.6 million women and 757,000 men experienced domestic abuse [1]. England entered COVID19 related lockdown measures in March 2020; in the following quarter between April 2020 and June 2020 there was a rise of 15,550 domestic abuse offences reported in comparison to the same period the year before [2].

Refuge – a national domestic abuse charity – have reported a significant increase in access to their services with a 700% increase in traffic to their website and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have provided data that shows nearly 1 in 6 people making homelessness applications in early 2021 were applying for housing due to domestic abuse [3].

Whilst the accountability of abuse must remain with the perpetrators themselves, it would be inappropriate to deny the impact that the isolation enforced by the pandemic lockdowns will have had in preventing people having opportunity to raise alert to their safety needs.

Many people who have been living with domestic abuse during the pandemic are now becoming able to potentially return to work, engage in social contact and enter public spaces that they had otherwise lost connection with. This return to some level of ‘normality’ offers employers a perfect opportunity to review their policy and approach in responding to the presenting impact of domestic abuse and violence in the workplace.

Vodafone previously commissioned research in 2019 that reviewed the impact of domestic abuse in the workplace. This research was carried out across various industries, and with staff of differing levels of seniority, and it identified that more than 1 in 3 people (37%) in work who engaged in their survey had experienced domestic abuse. The responses also identified that 67% of people said domestic abuse affected their career progression.

When coupling the above with the figures from the 2019 Home Office report “The economic and social costs of domestic abuse”, you can see the economic loss in England and Wales of £66.2bn per year, with a lost output cost (time off work combined with reduced productivity at work) as £14 billion. When broken down further, this figure equates to a lost output of around £7,245 per person.

It is essential that companies and organisations recognise the impact of domestic abuse that transfers from home to work. Employers should be updating, or creating, effective domestic abuse policies and protocols to assist staff to be safe from abuse, to support them to know where they can access support and to actively monitor their wellbeing.

Thrive Safe offers support to companies and organisations regarding developing their domestic abuse policy and strategy, how to respond appropriately and positively to those with domestic abuse related needs and to help signpost to services in their area should staff identify as having experienced domestic abuse themselves.

If you want to discuss how we can support you, please contact us to discuss our bespoke packages and workshops at info@thrivesafe.co.uk or by calling 07592 042820.

[1] The Crime Survey for England and Wales
[2] https://bit.ly/3wzdJ5C

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