Why Businesses Need to Understand the Impact of Domestic Abuse and Stalking in the Workplace

Domestic abuse and stalking have a huge impact on the workplace and will follow a person into the workplace, affecting the individuals ability to carry out their job, involve work colleagues and effect business productivity and risk a company’s reputation.

Fortunately, awareness of this issue has grown since I first set up my social enterprise, Safe Space Consultancy. There is more media interest and the law is changing rapidly as the problem becomes more widely understood.

As someone who’s worked in domestic abuse locally for nearly 20 years, I welcome these shifts but there is so much more to do. While there has been a sea change in attitudes and understanding since I first entered this field, more businesses and educational establishments need to become aware of the potential impact of domestic abuse and stalking on their employees and their businesses.

Here are some statistics:

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime;

1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience stalking in their lifetime.

75% of domestic abuse victims are targeted at work.

50% of stalking victims have curtailed or stopped work due to stalking.

Domestic abuse and stalking costs UK businesses more than £2.3bn per year.

(Womens Aid) (S.Walby (2004) the cost of domestic violence) (PHE) (Paladin Stalking Advocacy)

Domestic abuse and stalking are social ills. The problem is too big for statutory and voluntary organisations to deal with alone. We need more businesses and educational institutions to help raise awareness and provide information in order to break the cycle of abuse.

While I was working at a local domestic abuse charity, we identified that full-time working professionals were the hardest to reach group and the least likely to access domestic abuse support.  Even if they wanted to seek help, most of the on-going support programmes happened during working hours. If someone was living in a controlling or abusive relationship, they found it difficult to leave the home to go to the shop, let alone attend a ‘Break the cycle of abuse programme’. If the person had children, he or she found it hard to attend evening programmes, even if they had managed to leave the abusive relationship.  Therefore, Safe Space Consultancy addresses the need to deliver the information directly into the workplace.

Through training programmes I deliver information and raise awareness about domestic abuse and stalking and help businesses protect their employees by having an in-depth understanding of the issue.  How businesses can send out key messages throughout their organisation that domestic abuse is unacceptable and encourage a culture of openness and support. This has a direct and indirect benefit – the information can be directly applied in the workplace but it can also be applied in family environments and passed on to children and young people. The goal is to reduce the harm to individuals and the cost to organisations.

The accredited training workshops can be delivered as a one-day, half-day or a series of workshops on the Impact of Domestic Abuse & Stalking in the Workplace, including understanding what is domestic abuse and stalking, supporting employees, reducing risk to individual and organisation and implementing domestic abuse and stalking policies.

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