Refuge and Respect worked together to create a manual for employers who want to improve their response. Our reasons for taking on this work were:
- Employment can have significant impact on keeping victims of abuse safe- it provides routes to safety that may not exist elsewhere for victims of domestic violence
- Workplace responses to perpetrators of abuse can reduce risk and also help keeping victims safe
The manual written by Nicola Sharpe and Neil Blacklock was launched in 2010 and is available to download here
An effective workplace response to domestic violence needs to include the following:
Clear policy framework – that enables managers to act
A response to employees who are perpetrators of domestic violence Understanding of the needs of male victims
A response that is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans aware
The manual guides employers through the process of designing a policy and implementing it effectively.
The manual does not include a model policy but Respect has worked with Newcastle City Council on their new policy and we believe that this is an excellent example of a comprehensive policy. You can download it here .
Making A Workplace Response to Domestic Violence Effective
Too many workplace responses to domestic violence are little more than a policy that languishes on hard drives and makes little impact across the workplace. To make workplace response effective you need 3 things:
1) A policy framework that supports an effective response
2) Employees who are aware of and understand their employer’s stance on domestic violence
3) Managers who know how to recognise domestic violence, how to respond sensitively and how to access help
Our research with employees says that too many employers settle for the first and miss the other two. Respect has conducted research on the implementation of a workplace response to domestic violence in a large County Council and are currently working with Newcastle City Council on their response.
Here are some of the headlines from that research:
13.5% of employees knew of another employee was currently experiencing domestic violence
3.5% know of a colleague who was perpetrating domestic violence
Just under 60% of employees did not know their employer had policy on DV nor what response they could expect from their employer.
If you ask employees why they did not seek help from a manager they consistently say two things:
1) They did not want to make things worse – they were specifically concerned about confidentiality
2) They have no expectation that it would do any good
These barriers to an effective workplace response can be tackled by communication with the workforce and targeted role-specific training for managers on how to recognise domestic violence, respond sensitively and how to access help for employees.
Respect can support employers in establishing effective response, please contact [email protected]