Employers encouraged to act on signs of domestic abuse

UK government business minister Paul Scully has today issued a rallying call to employers across the country to ensure their organisation is spotting signs of domestic abuse.

In an open letter to all UK employers, the business minister has outlined a few steps they can take to build awareness of domestic abuse, ensure they are noticing warning signs, and help workers access the support they need.

Warning signs for domestic abuse include changes in a person’s behaviour, a sudden drop in performance, mentions of controlling or coercive behaviour in partners, or physical signs such as bruising.

Mr Scully said: “For too long, a lack of awareness and stigma around speaking about domestic abuse has stopped workplaces from putting in place the kind of help that survivors so desperately need.

“I know from personal experience that both bosses and colleagues are in a unique position to help spot the signs of domestic abuse and ensure survivors get the support they need so they no longer have to suffer in silence.

“That doesn’t mean making employers into counsellors or healthcare workers, but the actions I’ve outlined today - which can be as simple as providing a safe space to talk - can have a life-changing impact on survivors.”

The open letter comes as the government publishes the final report from its Review into Workplace Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse, which was launched in June to collect evidence on what more both the government and employers can do to try and tackle all forms of domestic abuse.

In light of the findings of the report, Mr Scully announced plans to consult on the steps that can be taken so victims can better exercise their existing employment rights, such as the right to request flexible working.

The government will also establish a working group including employers, representatives of domestic abuse victims and trade unions to convene regularly to establish practical solutions that employers can implement in the workplace, and to measure their impact on supporting survivors.

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