Feature

Standing up to abuse

Domestic abuse is far more common than many realise. According to charity Living Without Abuse, it accounts for 16% of all violent crime and leads to an average of two women being murdered each week and 30 men every year. Justine Campbell, Managing Partner for Talent at EY, UK & Ireland, tells HR Grapevine what HR can do to help staff seek support if they are victims of this very personal crime.

Why is it important for firms to consider a domestic abuse policy?

According to the Office for National Statistics, one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime (2017 Crime Survey) and three in four of those victims will be targeted whilst at work.

By working with domestic abuse charities, we understand that people are more likely to seek help if an employer has taken steps to provide support. By launching a guide to domestic abuse internally we hope that we can support those who are experiencing abuse.

What would an effective policy look like?

Broadly it should demonstrate: the employer’s commitment; how to recognise and respond to those affected; the support that can be provided by the employer; and how to refer to appropriate professional help.

What has EY introduced to help?

We have worked with Everyone’s Business – a collective campaign by the UK’s leading domestic abuse charities and organisations - to launch a guide on domestic abuse. We are also providing training for key people, including our HR team, and have started an ongoing internal campaign to raise awareness among with our people of the support available, via newsletters, webinars and our employee networks.

Specific support will vary based on the individual, but our written guidance includes, considering provision of: workplace adjustments; paid leave; a workplace safety plan; and signposting to external advocacy and counselling services.

Where can I turn for more information about a domestic abuse policy?

Business in the Community has published a Domestic Abuse Toolkit for Employers. The CIPD also has a guide for employers – ‘Managing and supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse’. Plus, Everyone’s Business provides a range of free support to employers engaging with the programme including advice on policies, training, counselling and advocacy services.


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