Encourage staff to speak out sooner on domestic abuse, writes Sam Billingham

While guidance to help employers spot signs of domestic abuse is available, I feel that without a requirement that all employers have to put in place robust policies,much domestic abuse will continue to go unnoticed.

Sam is calling for mandatory domestic abuse workplace policies to be introduced to support victims
Sam is calling for mandatory domestic abuse workplace policies to be introduced to support victims

Domestic abuse may happen behind closed doors but it has fas reaching consequences and can have a huge impact on the working lives of those living with an abusive partner.

For those suffering abuse at home, the workplace can be a place of refuge and safety but still an opportunity for perpetrators to control and abuse.

Being a good employer recognises the shared responsibility to support staff thought new or difficult periods in their lives. Yet, often, employees experiencing domestic abuse are often subject to disciplinary action or job losses through no fault of their own.

An understanding and effective workplace policy will help to build a stronger and confident environment, encouraging employees to speak out sooner rather than later.

Everybody has a responsibility to end domestic abuse and all businesses can play their part too.

It is important to always be supportive, never judgmental and to educate yourself about the complex cycle.

The workplace can be a lifeline for survivors of domestic abuse but need to be able to approach their line manager for example, in order to get the support they need. It’s important to understand how difficult it is to make a disclosure about domestic abuse.

Perhaps you are a boss reading this column and have an employee whom you have noticed a change in their work ethnic? Has their time keeping slipped, has their appearance change and their productivity not up to the standard that it once wasn't.

Speak to them in confidence and start the conversation by asking, is everything okay at home? This tells them that you want to listen.

All disclosures of domestic abuse should be treated in the strictest of confidence and all written records stored securely.

Domestic abuse is about power and control with the perpetrator doing all they can to control their victim, including getting them sacked from their job.

According to EIDA Employers' Initiative on Domestic Abuse 56% of employees said that domestic abuse led to absenteeism and 54% said that it caused the quality of their employees work to suffer. 1.9 million people were affected by domestic abuse in

2016/17. However, only 5% of employers have specific domestic abuse policies or guidelines in place, but all will have some staff affected by domestic abuse.

The economic cost of domestic abuse in England and Wales in 2016/17 was £66billion.

To make that significant change we must work together and be the change we want to see. We can all start by signing my petition to make Domestic Abuse Workplace Policies mandatory.

One in 4 women and one in 6 men will experience domestic abuse at some point during their lifetime so let’s help them make domestic abuse noticeable.

To sign my petition go to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/329892?fbclid=IwAR3uv0QZSeO7NeblCSwtO

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