Press release

Public Health England launches new violence toolkit for businesses

New violence toolkit for businesses alerts companies to the hidden issue of domestic violence at work.

Domestic violence

Ahead of the 16 Days of Action campaign against domestic violence, Public Health England (PHE) has launched a violence toolkit for businesses: a step by step guide for businesses on how they can tackle domestic violence and raise awareness of an issue that impacts health, wellbeing, and absence and turn over in the workplace.

The toolkit was commissioned by PHE and developed by The Corporate Alliance and the Latimer Group. It is aimed at all businesses, specifically those that lack the occupational health or HR infrastructure to tackle an issue like domestic violence in working environments.

The toolkit provides practical tools and resources to help businesses take action over the 16 Days (25 November to 10 December) 2014, from raising awareness internally using posters and internal communications messaging, to being visible daily through social media, blogs and podcasts. It also provides briefings for members of staff on how to address the issue.

A growing collection of research highlights the need for more businesses to be aware of domestic abuse. Among employed women who experienced domestic violence in the last year, 21% took time off work and 2% lost their jobs. Research shows that 75% of domestic abuse victims are targeted at work.

Public Health England has signed the Responsibility Deal Pledge, addressing domestic violence in the workplace. For organisations who want to take further action, specialised and bespoke support is available from the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said:

It is unacceptable that in England and Wales, 2 women a week die as a result of domestic violence, and many more suffer physical and mental harm.

Workplaces are a safe space for many people living in violence and are key for providing opportunities for disclosure and support into safety. As it stands, domestic violence is a hidden issue in the workplace and companies can do more to support their employees who experience domestic abuse, train those who witness, and protect staff as a whole. Bringing discussions of domestic violence into the workplace is a crucial step in providing routes to safety for people enduring violence, and prompting perpetrators to reach out for help.

Signing up to the pledge and using the toolkit not only means businesses are supporting their staff and securing safety in the workplace, but they will also save on financial loss due to absence and turnover. It is a win win for businesses and we urge them to utilise this resource.

Dennis Howard, Chairman of The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence, said:

The Alliance is delighted to be working with Public Health England in this key awareness-raising during the 16 Days of Action. We urge all employers to recognise both the human cost, and the ultimate cost to UK businesses, of domestic violence and take effective, simple steps to help support their employees, not only during the 16 Days but going forward.

Ends

Notes to Editors

Domestic violence statistics

More than one fifth of women (21%) who were employed and who have suffered domestic violence in the year prior to interview took time off work as a result of the worst incident. Men also took time off, but at lower rates (6%). While for around half the women the time taken off employment was limited to a day or two, for nearly a quarter this lasted more than a week. Most seriously, 2% of women and of men lost their jobs because of this incident.

In 2011, one third of all domestic homicides happened on workplace grounds.

Just 18% of HR decision makers class domestic violence as ‘high priority’.

30% of cases of domestic violence start during pregnancy.

At least 1 in 7 homicides globally and more than a third of female homicides are perpetrated by an intimate partner.

In America, in 40% of female workplace homicides from 1997 to 2010, the perpetrators were relatives, almost all being a spouse or a domestic partner.

Globally, in 2010, 30% of women aged 15 and over have experienced, during their lifetime, physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence.

The total cost of domestic violence to services (Criminal Justice System, health, social services, housing, civil legal) amounts to £3.1 billion, while the loss to the economy is £2.7 billion. This amounts to over £5.7 billion a year.

About the 16 Days of Action against violence toolkit for businesses

The toolkit is a step by step guide for businesses on how they can tackle domestic violence and raise awareness of an issue that impacts health, wellbeing, absence and turn over in the workplace. The toolkit has been commissioned by PHE and developed by Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV).

The toolkit is a brief for companies to tackle domestic violence within these 16 Days.

Read the toolkit

PHE launches new violence toolkit for businesses (media version with references) (PDF, 171KB, 4 pages)

About Public Health England

Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. www.gov.uk/phe
Twitter: @PHE_uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/PublicHealthEngland

Photo courtesy of European Parliament. Used under Creative Commons.

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Published 25 November 2014