Employers across the region are encouraged to play their part in tackling domestic abuse and learn to spot the signs of abuse.
During this year’s international campaign ’16 Days of Action’ (25 November to 10 December) Somerset County Council is encouraging all employers to check out the online resource ‘Domestic Abuse: a toolkit for employers’ to support and help staff who may be affected.
Produced by Public Health England in partnership with businesses, the toolkit helps organisations make a commitment to respond to the risk of domestic abuse.
It helps companies do more to aid their employees through training on the signs to spot, how to help and protect staff, whilst securing their safety and mitigating financial loss.
It also offers guidance on how to build an approach that ensures all employees feel supported and empowered by their workplace to deal with domestic abuse.
Employers have an important role to play. Often workplaces are the only safe location for victims, offering hope of escaping abuse if the signs are spotted – but these spaces are now less accessible for those forced to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covid-19 has exacerbated the problem for both male and female victims, with lockdown increasing the amount of time they spend at home with their abuser, potentially escalating the threat of domestic abuse and restricting their freedom.
During the first three months of lockdown, Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service saw more than 10,000 people reach out for information and help to their website – an increase of more than 8,000 in the same period during the previous year.
Cllr Clare Paul, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for health and wellbeing, said: “As a business owner myself, I understand the responsibility of looking after your staff.
“This is an excellent resource that will help keep staff safe from abuse and give employers a platform to help them build policies and give them guidance on recognising and dealing with abuse.”
“I urge all employers to inform their staff on what they can do to protect themselves and their colleagues from abuse and how to recognise when someone they know is experiencing it.”
Domestic abuse: a toolkit for employers can be downloaded from: https://www.bitc.org.uk/toolkit/domestic-abuse-toolkit/
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, worried about someone you know, or are concerned about the impact of your behaviour towards others, then help is available: www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk or by telephoning 0800 69 49 999.
In an emergency you should always dial 999. If you are worried that an abuser may overhear your call you can remain silent, tap the phone and dial 55 when prompted by the operator who will send help.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired you can register with emergencySMS.net. Once registered you will be able to send a text to 999 if you require help in an emergency.