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The Impact of Domestic Abuse in the Workplace

01 NovUnhappy female employee

For many people, domestic abuse is a personal issue. It is something that those involved should resolve behind closed doors and is not for employers or colleagues to interfere. However, in your role as a good employer, it is important to support any employee experiencing difficulties.


The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV) is a collection of big companies who joined forces to help support people experiencing domestic abuse. Emma Pearmaine is Chair of the CAADV and explained why supporting any member of staff is important:

“Typically, somebody who is experiencing domestic violence is more likely to be late for work. They are more likely to be taking time off work and they are more likely to fail to meet their work targets because of all the stress they are enduring. They may even find that they have to leave their job. It’s one of the issues that remains behind closed doors.

It shouldn’t be. It’s in part because survivors feel unsure about speaking out. They don’t know whether they will be supported. In part, this is because those who are on the receiving end of the disclosure don’t know what to do.”

Why Should Employers Care About Domestic Abuse?

Often those who are experiencing abuse will face disciplinary action, or in extreme circumstances lose their job – potentially because of their behaviour, deterioration in the standard of their work, or poor time keeping. Under health and safety law, employers have a responsibility to ensure that the health and well-being of employees is considered and efficiently dealt with.

What Impact Does Domestic Abuse Have On Businesses?

Domestic abuse affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men. With UK employment rate hovering at around 75%, that means that as many as 1.5 million employees will have experienced domestic abuse within the past 12 months. This is estimated to cost the UK economy close to £2bn annually, with output lost due to:

  • Reduced productivity
  • Unplanned time off
  • Lost wages
  • Sick pay

What Can Businesses Do To Support Staff Who May Be Experiencing Domestic Abuse?

Your business does not need huge resources to effectively support employees experiencing domestic abuse. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have outlined 10 actions your business can take to manage domestic abuse in the workplace:

  1. Keep an eye out for unexplained changes in behaviour from employees who previously have a strong record.
  2. Take note of how employees dress. Are they wearing excessive clothing for the time of year, or have suddenly begun wearing lots of makeup.
  3. Always believe an employee if they confide in you about domestic abuse – do not ask for proof.
  4. Reassure the employee that you understand domestic abuse may affect their performance at work and make them aware of any support which you can offer.
  5. Look at ways to divert calls and emails of any employees receiving harassing communications.
  6. Come to an agreement with the employee over what colleagues should say if an abusive partner calls or visits the workplace.
  7. Avoid scenarios where the employee may have to work alone or in an isolated area, and ensure they have arrangements in place for safe travel to and from work.
  8. Make sure to keep records of any incidents in the work place – including calls, emails and visits to the premises.
  9. Display domestic abuse posters to reassure those experiencing abuse that support is available.
  10. Be aware of support services in your local area and direct employees to relevant organisations for advice.

At Leeway we can help your business address these issues with courses delivered by our experienced trainers. If you would like to find out more about our range of training courses for businesses and public organisations, please get in touch with our training department. You can do so by calling 0300 561 0077.

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