With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men affected by domestic violence during their adult lives, every workplace up and down the country is touched by this issue.
Several organisations, including British Airways, the Charity for Civil Servants, Cornwall Council, Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA), Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV), Eliminate Domestic Violence Global Foundation, HMRC, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals, Sodexo and Women’s Aid are the first to sign up to the pledge.
The Department of Health, working closely with CAADA, has developed 2 leaflets: one for employees ensuring they understand their rights and responsibilities within the organisation; and a separate leaflet for employers, giving guidance on how to support those who are in immediate need of help.
Health Minister Earl Howe said:
Domestic violence can have a devastating and long term effect on a survivor’s mental health. It is probably the most prevalent cause of stress and depression in women. And children who live with domestic violence are at increased risk of behavioural problems, emotional trauma and mental health difficulties in adult life.
The workplace can play a key role in helping to support those who are facing such problems. That is why we have launched this important new pledge, as part of the Responsibility Deal, to encourage employers to recognise the issue and put in place measures that will help alleviate the long term suffering that many people are living with.
Dame Carol Black, Chair of the Responsibility Deal health at work network, said:
Domestic abuse of all kinds, including violence, is common but often hidden. Its recognition by workplace colleagues, who are alert to the possibility of abuse and are familiar with the right actions to take, can open the way to protection and freedom from threat, fear and harm.
I hope that employers will see this as an important responsibility, ensure they and their staff are familiar with the guidance, and sign up to this pledge as a public statement of their commitment.
The Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge, developed with the help of charities including CAADA, CAADV and Eliminate Domestic Violence, states that:
We will treat people within our organisation with respect and dignity. We will do everything we can to prevent stalking, violence or abuse either in the workplace or that has an effect on people in the workplace, whether from a colleague, family member or anyone else. This will include having guidance in place which is suitable to the size of our organisation. The guidance will ensure that an appropriate, safe and sensitive response can be implemented and our employees supported when they raise such an issue.