Supporting Employees Affected by Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence and abuse are crimes, and the police, with support services, are there to protect victims and bring perpetrators to justice. The Home Office definition of Domestic Abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or who have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
Domestic abuse may include a range of behaviours, such as (this list is not exhaustive) constant criticism, intimidation, threats to harm, withholding earned money, stalking, hitting, biting, grabbing, kicking, sexual assault and rape.
Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse. Abuse can be within same-sex relationships. Victims can be from any faith, community and any gender, ethnicity or from any background. Victims of domestic abuse are not confined to one group.
You may become aware of a domestic abuse situation through sudden changes in behaviour or performance, absence monitoring, poor performance or an incident in the workplace. Some victims will work longer hours to avoid going home and may put in additional effort because they are desperate not to lose their job.
Identifying an individual who is experiencing difficulties at an early stage can help to ensure appropriate support is provided. This can enable the individual to deal with their situation more effectively. You must adopt a sensitive, empathetic and non-judgemental approach when dealing with an individual who is experiencing domestic abuse.
The purpose of this guide is to offer practical support for managers when a member of their staff has been identified as a victim of domestic abuse. This should include confidentiality being afforded to them in their workplace, unless there are safeguarding concerns which necessitates wider information sharing to prevent risk and harm. It should be recognised that as a manager you cannot solve the problem, but can offer support and take all reasonable action to ensure the workplace is safe and secure for the individual and others who may be at risk.
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