Employers can be the lifeline for domestic abuse victims

Now more than ever, employers must play a key role in helping to lift the lid on domestic abuse and keep staff safe during the pandemic. 

With over 2.3 million people aged 16-74 experiencing domestic abuse a year (two-thirds of whom are women)[i] and the continued pandemic and lockdown facilitating and exacerbating abuse in the home, leading frontline domestic abuse charity Solace is urging employers to take action and make a stand against this devastating crime.

In January 2021 Business Minister, Paul Scully, called on employers to ensure their organisation is spotting signs of domestic abuse and helping their staff find the right support, following the Government’s review into workplace support for victims of domestic abuse,

When someone is experiencing domestic abuse their options for accessing support are often already limited, and their abuser is likely to have isolated them from friends and family. Work might be one of the only places where they can talk to someone and get the help they need.

However, with 60% of the UK’s adult population working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown and 1 in 4 people expected in work from home in future[ii], these safe places and support networks are more distant than ever.

Employers can still play a critical role by being the link between an abusive homelife and the outside world. There are many actions employers can take to fulfil their duty of safety to staff including recognising the signs of abuse in an era of remote working, opening up conversations about abuse online and providing meaningful and effective support strategies during the pandemic and beyond.

While everyone has a role to play, staff in key positions, such as HR, line managers, wellbeing teams or mental health first aiders are more likely to be in positions to providing support to survivors and need the skills to be able to do so.

Understanding the life-saving role employers can play, Solace has created a free taster toolkit for employers. Find out more and sign up for the toolkit on this site or get in touch with training@solacewomensaid.org.They are also offering employers the opportunity to discuss their current organisational response to domestic abuse as well as the training and consultancy available from Solace to support them.

[i] ONS (2018) Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2018 

[ii] Working from home (WFH) statistics 2020 | Finder UK

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