Domestic Abuse, A Workplace Issue
Domestic abuse not only impacts on the well-being of the person being abused, it also affects co-workers and the financial strength and success of the companies for which they work.
One in four women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime – so it’s likely that all workplaces have staff that have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse, as well as those who are perpetrators.
A recent study found that on average, workplaces reported less than one disclosure about domestic abuse. These findings do not suggest that people in work are less affected by domestic abuse. On the contrary, the indication is that in addition to other barriers survivors face in speaking out about abuse, not enough employees feel adequately supported by their workplace to raise the problem with their employer.
In addition to safeguarding people in work who are experiencing domestic abuse, addressing domestic abuse as a workplace issue also has benefits for businesses themselves.
An estimated £1.9billion a year in economic output is lost in England and Wales every year due to reduced productivity, admin difficulties from unplanned time off, lost wages and sick pay as a result of domestic abuse2.
Domestic abuse can cause employees to be distracted at work, miss work, arrive late or leave early, and increase staff turnover. In a recent study, 54% of employers reported that domestic abuse caused the quality of the employee’s work to suffer, and 56% said it led to absenteeism1 Supporting these reports, a recent UK Home Office study 3 also found that 21 per cent of women take time off work as a direct result of abuse.
If changes in employee behaviour due to domestic abuse are misinterpreted by the employer, it could lead to disciplinary action or termination of employment. Not only can this lead to losing otherwise reliable and valued members of your workforce, but having a steady income is often key to a survivor’s economic independence and their opportunity to escape an abusive relationship.
Safety at Work
Employers have a responsibility to ensure safety at work. 75% of those experiencing domestic abuse are targeted at work4. For others, work is a safe haven and the only place that offers a route to safety. What’s more, it’s also often possible for perpetrators to use workplace resources – phones, email and other means – to threaten, harass or abuse their current or former partner.
Impact on Colleagues
Colleagues may also be affected. At worst they may face direct threats or intimidation. They may also be affected by covering for workers who are experiencing domestic abuse, and in cases where they’re aware that abuse is taking place they may experience distress if they don’t know how to help.
Three quarters of employees say they would like workplace support to address domestic abuse, but only 30 per cent of companies have a plan to respond to domestic abuse in place4 and only 5% have a specific policy or guidelines on the issue1.
We have a range of resources and services available to get you started and are keen to work closely with local business to get a clearer idea of what level of responses are currently in place
Take our quick quiz to see how well you're addressing domestic abuse in your organisation.
75% of those experiencing domestic abuse are targeted at work.
An estimated £1.9billion a year in economic output is lost in England and Wales every year as a result of domestic abuse.
21% of women take time off work as a direct result of abuse.
Equation wants to support local businesses in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to adopt positive responses to domestic abuse. We’re keen to work closely with local business to get a clearer idea of what structures are currently in place, and what would be useful to managers and HR teams with regards to addressing domestic abuse issues in the workplace.
We’d be grateful if you could take a minute to provide the following information. This will help us get a snapshot of the types of businesses looking to develop their responses to domestic abuse. Providing contact information is optional but you will need to provide this information if you wish to be contacted for a free consultation or would like to be subscribed to our newsletter.
Could pay for four children to take part in our early intervention projects
Could help cover emergency travel costs so that a man can flee an abusive relationship