SafeLives calls on employers to make domestic abuse their business

18th April 2018

The Duchess of Cornwall attends roundtable discussion on employer response to domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse charity, SafeLives, is calling on all employers to help end domestic abuse, as the Duchess of Cornwall attends roundtable discussion on the issue at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

The charity will be attending the discussion on Wednesday 18th April. The group will include SafeLives Pioneers (survivors of domestic abuse who work closely with the charity) as well as other survivors, professionals and staff. SafeLives will highlight the unique position employers have to spot the signs of domestic abuse, and to provide support to staff who may be victims or survivors.

Suzanne Jacob OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives said:

“Domestic abuse is everybody’s business, and this includes employers. We know two million people experience domestic abuse every year – and yet we think it is something that happens to ‘other people’. Domestic abuse is something that will impact almost every workplace. And yet so few employers have adequate policies or training about domestic abuse.

"Employers are well placed to spot the signs in colleagues: anxiety, decreased motivation, seeming distracted, being late, being on the phone to a partner or family member very often – and yet so often no one knows what to say or do. This must change. This is not just about a well-intended policy, but real culture change. Campaigns such as Time to Change have had incredible impact in raising awareness of mental health and allowing people the time and space to talk about it. We need to see the same with domestic abuse. Conversations may be uncomfortable, but they can also be life changing. 

"We are so pleased that Her Royal Highness continues to show her commitment and dedication to the cause, and hope this discussion will be the start of public and private sector organisations recognising that domestic abuse will impact their workforce and taking positive action to support those who may be suffering in silence”.  

"We want businesses from every sector taking responsibility for the wellbeing and safety of their staff. This requires training, resources and leadership.”

Jenny, professional & survivor of domestic abuse said:

"I suspect everyone at work knew what had happened but nobody spoke about it. Domestic abuse impacts every workforce. Understanding it in all its forms and having an active strategy to identify and support victims makes moral and economic sense. Helping break the silence supports staff and colleagues not just now, but into the future."

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About SafeLives

We are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. Since 2005, SafeLives has worked with organisations across the country to transform the response to domestic abuse, with over 60,000 victims at highest risk of murder or serious harm now receiving co-ordinated support annually because of the interventions we designed and rolled out. 

No one should live in fear. It is not acceptable, not inevitable, and together – we can make it stop.  

Every year, nearly two million people experience domestic abuse. For every person being abused, there is someone else responsible for that abuse: the perpetrator. And all too often, children are in the home and living with the impact. 

Domestic abuse affects us all; it thrives on being hidden behind closed doors. We must make it everybody’s business.  

The cost of domestic abuse to the economy and the impact on workplace productivity

We need employers from all sectors and professions to understand domestic abuse impacts their employees. Many will have victims, survivors and perpetrators working for them. We are calling for all major institutions to play a role in tackling domestic abuse. This requires an investment in training and skills amongst the workplace.

We know that more than 80% of victims of domestic abuse find it hard to engage in work and may be absent for periods of time, with many suffering from anxiety and mental health problems. For more than 10%, the abuse follows them into the workplace, whether through threatening messages, stalking – or the perpetrator physically coming to the victim’s place of work (Domestic Violence and the Workplace, TUC, 2014). It makes both moral and financial sense for employers to gain the skills and knowledge to support their employers.

About the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM)

On the 16th-18th April, the UK will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This is an opportunity for leaders from all member countries to gather in London and Windsor to address the shared global challenges we face and agree actions on how to create a better future for all. As part of this, The Commonwealth Women’s Forum is hosting an extensive programme across the three days. The theme is ‘An Empowered Future for Women and Girls’.

For more information on the sessions and discussion, please visit: www.chogm2018.org.uk

For interviews or more information, please contact Penny East, Head of Communications, on 07818 593562 or penny.east@safelives.org.uk