Employers’ toolkit launched to help tackle domestic abuse

To coincide with the international campaign, ‘Sixteen Days of Action’ against domestic abuse, (25 November – 10 December), Somerset County Council has launched a new toolkit for employers.

The campaign encourages employers to play their part in tackling domestic abuse and learn how to spot signs that an employee may be in an abusive relationship.

The Council is encouraging all employers to check out the online resource at https://somersetsurvivors.org.uk, aimed at guiding them in how to support staff who may be affected by domestic abuse.

Organisations have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment. Stopping and challenging domestic abuse and workplace support for employees who are experiencing it, is a fundamental part of that duty of care.

The toolkit helps organisations do more to aid their employees through training on the signs to spot, how to help and protect staff whilst securing their safety and where to go for support.

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. In addition to supporting staff who are experiencing domestic abuse, the toolkit has advice on how to spot if a member of staff is a perpetrator of domestic abuse, how to engage with a perpetrator and the support that is available for them.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a lasting effect on the way some employees work. Many organisations have continued to embrace the home working or hybrid method of working. Whilst this new way of working has many benefits for employees, for someone experiencing domestic abuse work maybe the only safe place that they go.

The shift to a new way of working means the position of employers tackling domestic abuse and supporting employees who are experiencing it has never been more important.

Councillor Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset County Council, said: “Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender and from any walk of life. The signs of which can be hard to spot in someone.

“This resource will give employers the tools to keep staff safe from abuse and a platform to help them build policies and give them guidance on recognising and dealing with abuse.

“I urge all employers to engage with their staff and create an open and transparent culture about the subject, which will put confidence in employees that are affected by domestic abuse, that they will be supported if they acknowledge that their relationship is abusive.”

Domestic abuse: a toolkit for employers can be found here.

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.