Between 25 November and 10 December organisations will mark the international 16 days of action movement by reminding employers across the region of their duty of care to provide a safe and effective work environment for employees.
Preventing and addressing domestic abuse is an integral part of this duty of care – it is a hugely destructive problem and we have a collective responsibility to tackle it. The good news is that Public Health England has partnered up with Business in the community (BiTC) to produce ‘Domestic Abuse: a toolkit for employers’. The toolkit provides organisations of all sizes and types with practical advice on how to respond to the risk of domestic abuse and build an approach that ensures all employees feel supported and empowered by their workplace to deal with domestic abuse.
Research commissioned by the Vodafone Foundation has revealed that awareness of domestic abuse has increased and that employers want to do more but need support to put policies in place. It is thought that only five per cent of organisations currently have a specific policy or guidelines on the issue.
You don’t have to run or work for a large organisation in order to put a policy in place that helps protect and provide a safe space for employees. The toolkit encourages employers to consider three key actions:
- Acknowledge your responsibility to address domestic abuse. Enable colleagues to openly discuss this topic, and provide a supportive workplace
- Respond by reviewing your policies and processes to ensure you are providing a supportive workplace and can respond to disclosure. Make sure the policies and processes are implemented correctly
- Refer and provide access to organisations who can help employees affected by the issue.
You can download a copy of the toolkit from the BiTC website.
Here at RCHT, Jenny, the domestic abuse worker, has been visiting wards delivering posters to put up in staff areas with helpful information about when and how to make a referral.