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New advice to help employers deal with domestic abuse and stigma.

16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence is aimed at businesses to support them to act against domestic abuse and violence.  Employers have a legal obligation to assess dynamic risk and support the health and safety and wellness of their employees. Companies can do more to aid their employees who endure domestic violence, to train those who witness it, and to protect staff, with the goal of securing safety and mitigating financial loss. Spanning across 16 days from 25th November to 10th December, a theme will be identified each day to explore the various forms of domestic violence. In doing so, the workplace will be better equipped to acknowledge the signs that indicate it may be going on.

According to public health England, one in four women, and one in six men suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime and domestic abuse costs businesses £1.9 billion every year due to decreased productivity, time off work, lost wages and sick pay.

Equally, in any one year, more than 20% of employed women are experiencing domestic abuse. This has a profound effect on productivity and sickness in the workplace (

Business in the Community and PHE has published a domestic abuse toolkit that will help raise awareness of the issue with employers and provide guidance on how they can support those affected by it.

In the UK, nearly 2 million people experienced domestic abuse in the last year alone.

With one third of a working adult’s life spent in work, employers are in a unique position to create a supportive workplace culture that encourages the identification of health and wellbeing needs and to help break the silence around this issue.

This toolkit, developed in consultation with employers, will help them spot the signs and symptoms of domestic abuse, which include:

  • Frequent absence, lateness or needing to leave work early
  • Reduced quality and quantity of work or missing deadlines
  • Changes in the way an employee communicates – a large number of personal calls or texts or a strong reaction to personal calls
  • Physical signs and symptoms such as unexplained or frequent bruises or other injuries

The toolkit gives key actions for employers:

1. Acknowledge

Use this toolkit to help understand the issues and acknowledge every employer’s responsibility to address domestic abuse. Enable colleagues to openly discuss this topic, and provide a supportive workplace

2. Respond

Review your policies and processes to ensure you are providing a supportive workplace and can respond to disclosure.

3. Refer

Provide access to organisations who can help employees affected by the issue.

Finally, it is beneficial to have a Mental Health First Aider to help those affected by poor mental health. Mental health issues are as much of a priority as physical ill-health.

Mental Health First Aid England has designed a training course to help people to recognise the symptoms of mental health so that they can support those who are affected by it. The training course assists in reducing the stigma of mental health. It also raises awareness of a range of conditions to those who may not know about them.

16 days of action against domestic violence: