Some key actions which businesses could implement are outlined below:
1. Understand the issue:
Domestic abuse is the abuse of power by one person over another, and can take many forms including coercive control, economic abuse and physical violence.
2. Give out a clear message that your organisation can support staff affected by domestic abuse:
- display domestic abuse posters, leaflets and handbooks in communal areas
- find ways to communicate to staff the organisation’s support around this issue – eg, text in newsletters on company intranet, in staff briefings
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for resources to display and support with developing a staff policy or for input into staff communications
3. Know the signs:
Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of their gender, demographics or socio-economic background. Most people who suffer it find it very hard to talk about. Some signs which indicate that domestic abuse may be a factor in someone’s life are:
- injuries – Visible marks and/ or mobility & pain issues
- wearing clothes that don’t fit the season or reference to partner choosing clothes
- needing to start or leave work at very specific times
- not attending work socials
- lots of phone calls throughout the day from their partner
- personality change (confident to low self-esteem)
- spending more time at work when not needed
- day to day colleague conversations suggesting coercive control
4. Broaching the issue:
If domestic abuse is suspected:
It is important that someone talks to an individual who may be experiencing domestic abuse as they may find it very hard to raise the issue themselves.
Indirect questions can be used such as “Is everything alright at home? You don’t have to tell me but please know that I would like to support you when you feel ready…”.
If domestic abuse is disclosed:
- suggest that you go somewhere quiet and comfortable, away from the office/desk if possible
- acknowledge the courage of the employee and how difficult it must be to talk
- confirm the complete confidentiality of the disclosure. As a guide, any information should only be disclosed to anyone else if it is absolutely necessary in providing help and support and with the prior agreement of the person who has disclosed.