Over the past eighteen months there have been increasing calls for everyone to play a more active role in tackling domestic abuse, including businesses.
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought domestic abuse into the spotlight and highlighted the devastating impact that it has on the lives of so many people.
Domestic abuse affects around 10% of the workforce, costing the UK economy £1.9 billion every year and around 75% of people experiencing domestic abuse are targeted at work.
Which is why the Government are encouraging businesses to sign up to the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA), following on from a report exploring domestic abuse and the workplace released at the start of the year.
The report highlighted that many employers were not able to spot the signs of domestic abuse amongst their staff and were therefore not able to signpost them to access specialist support.
Being able to spot the signs of domestic abuse means that a survivor is more likely to access support at an earlier stage, reducing their risk of serious harm and the costs that it has on society, as well as the workplace.
The report also flagged up that many businesses did not have policies and procedures in place to support those experiencing domestic abuse.
This would enable businesses to respond in a timely and consistent manner, providing steps to ensure safety in the workplace and guidance on flexible working or paid leave.
Those that sign up to the EIDA will receive access to training resources and guidance for HR policies and procedures to support survivors.
Mandy Proctor, Chief Executive of Leeway, welcomed the Government’s stance, saying: “We all have a role to play in tackling domestic abuse and I am pleased that employers are being encouraged to sign up to receive training.
“Domestic abuse has a large financial cost on society each year, including a considerable amount through the work force due to lost output, absence and recruitment costs.
“By taking a proactive approach, these costs will be significantly reduced, and employers will be able to provide effective support to any staff members experiencing domestic abuse.”
Throughout the pandemic, Leeway has seen an increase in the number of businesses and organisations wanting training and guidance around domestic abuse.
Existing training packages have been adapted to be delivered online, ensuring that many businesses and organisations are still able to access important information on supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse.
Leeway delivers regular Domestic Abuse Awareness training sessions, designed to help attendees to spot the signs of domestic abuse and provide guidance on how to signpost someone affected to access support.
The sessions can be specifically tailored to meet the needs of an organisation or with added emphasis on a certain area of interest, for instance, training specifically exploring financial abuse for banks.
The charity also provides guidance for businesses and organisations adapting or writing policies and procedures around domestic abuse.