In May this year, the UK SAYS NO MORE Charter on Prevention called for all businesses to take up their responsibility to end domestic abuse. We are delighted to announce the launch of ‘Everyone’s Business’, an initiative led by Hestia and delivered in partnership with Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, The Corporate Alliance, Surviving Economic Abuse, Cardiff Women’s Aid, Woman’s Trust, TecSOS and Bulbshare; eight specialist organisations delivering expert services within the programme.
Victoria Atkins Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability and Minister for Women welcomed the Everyone’s Business launch at an event in Portcullis House, attended by the partnership members as well as Sperry Marine, The Met Police, Anthony Louca Solicitors, Ernst Young, Lloyds Bank Foundation and many other employers.
Victoria Atkins stressed the importance of employer’s support and the response from the private, public and voluntary sectors working together to achieve this goal.
“I’m really excited to hear how Hestia will achieve real change with the upcoming programme being launched today”
Employer’s positive response will give employees the confidence to come forward, disclose and seek support. Having a dedicated domestic abuse policy will give clear guidelines on how to deal with disclosure and what support to offer. Tackling domestic abuse internally with the expert external support will ensure stability for businesses in terms of staff retention and performance and will maintain a high reputable stand within the business sector.
An example of a positive response is the Vodafone Foundation creating the TecSOS Technology, providing a handset to people enduring abuse so they are able to connect easily with emergency services.
The programme will reinforce the Government’s aim to make domestic abuse everyone’s business and will complement its ongoing analysis of the responses it received to the now closed consultation (1) on the proposed Domestic Abuse Bill.
Speaking at the recent All-Party Parliamentary Group on domestic abuse(2), Victoria Atkins said that she is ‘personally and professionally committed to supporting survivors of domestic abuse’. We as a partnership are confident as such that the proposed Bill will be passed and will put emphasis on employers to promote awareness, protect and support, pursue and deter and improve performance.(3)
Why should employers get involved in Everyone’s Business?
With only 5% of companies having a dedicated domestic abuse policy or guidelines(4), there is a growing need for employers to acknowledge the reality that domestic abuse affects their employees – especially considering that around 1 in 10 of those who experience intimate partner violence tell someone at work.(5)
Employers must also take responsibility to recognise, prevent and tackle the ever evolving nature of this crime experienced and perpetrated by their employees and have measures in place to provide support. This is because domestic abuse takes place in the workplace and employers are duty bound to safeguard their employees and care for their wellbeing. Employers must also hold perpetrators to account and challenge them so to bring an end to the perpetration of abuse.
‘Everyone’s Business’ will put employers at the heart of tackling domestic abuse and provide them with the tools they need to be prepared to receive disclosures, actively respond and speedily support employees who are experiencing and/or perpetrating domestic abuse.
The programme offers employers a free membership to the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse; which is a network of over 200 employers sharing experiences and best practice on how to tackle and respond to domestic abuse in the workplace.(6)
Through The Corporate Alliance, employers will also have bespoke assessments, training, accreditation and policy reviews, together with specialist training on domestic abuse and sexual violence delivered by Hestia’s Training Manager and access to a dedicated accredited senior independent domestic abuse advocate/adviser, who will work closely with HR personnel, managers and directly with employees affected by domestic abuse to provide expert, confidential, practical advice and make referrals to the Women’s Trust counselling services.
The services provided within the programme will ensure that employers have robust measures in place to support their employees and will certainly contribute to reducing the approximate annual £26 billion overall cost of gender-based violence to both victims and society as well as the estimated cost to the economy of £3.4 billion attributed to absences from work resulting from injury.(7)
What about the other partners?
It is reassuring nonetheless that 86% of HR leads in medium and large UK organisations agree that employers have a duty of care to provide support to employees on the issue of domestic abuse.(8)
Speaking to Sarah-Jane Mee on Sky News Sunrise about domestic abuse and employment; Hestia’s Prevention of Domestic Abuse Director Pamela Zaballa said:
‘It’s about knowing what to do when an employee discloses. This is what Hestia through this project is trying to do. Trying to give employers the tools, the awareness, the training’.
Having digital tools like the Everyone’s Business Employers Portal will provide literature, self-assessment and contacts for support services and will enable employers to support employees and equip them to support one another.
Melissa Morbeck, Executive Director of The Corporate Alliance said:
‘It is an honour to be part of Everyone’s Business. Having worked with employers for over 30 years in a field of domestic violence awareness and support, I have come to see that employers and businesses can and do play a pivotal role in saving the lives of employees impacted by domestic abuse. Employers have the opportunity to create positive change for their employees while observing legal obligations. It is often difficult for businesses to take action as this is often preserved as a personal issue. Yet the Alliance, having worked with over a 1000 employers has witnessed time and again that a whole system of support keeps businesses safe and saves lives. Everyone’s Business is the example of a system of rapped around service for business to make progressive change’.
To Find out More:
• Please visit Hestia’s ‘Everyone’s Business’ page
• Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org