Domestic Violence: What’s it to do with your business?
It is estimated that 25% of women will experience domestic violence in their adult lifetimes. This is a frightening statistic that impacts on the health, wellbeing and performance of all businesses. But how does it impact you might ask and what can we do?
Here are some more alarming facts
• 56% of abused women arrive late for work at least five times.
• 58% of abused women will miss at least 3 days of work a month.
• 33% of all domestic violence homicides happen on workplace grounds.
• The costs of domestic violence and abuse to business are estimated to be £2 billion a year.
How can a Business deal with Domestic Violence?
From 25th November to 10th December 2014 a campaign to reduce those percentages with the help of business through ‘16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence ‘. The campaign spans International Human Rights Defenders Day (29th November), World Aids Day (1st December) and the anniversary of the Montreal Ecole Polytechnique Massacre (6th December). The choice of dates is deliberate, to show the fundamental connection between human rights and violence against women.
This campaign is aimed at smaller businesses, who might lack the expertise to deal with a large problem like domestic violence. Despite these limits companies are encourage to support the campaign in different ways, from hosting a large campaign, to joining The Corporate Alliance, to simply sending a tweet.
“Companies can do more to aid their employees who endure domestic violence, train those who witness it, and to protect staff as a whole, with the goal of securing safety and mitigating financial loss.”
What Support is there for Businesses to get involved?
The Corporate Alliance is a nationally-recognised membership charity that works with employers to address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace, providing them with practical and sector-relevant tools and resources in a business-to-business platform.
“The Corporate Alliance provides a full service consultancy in regards to auditing and implementing best practice in relation to workplace response to domestic violence, has provided accredited training to over 10,000 employees, not to be counsellors but to identify the warning signs, refer to best practice providers and take action. We offer a gateway to direct service providers.”
What should a Business do?
Employers have a duty of care to the people they employ, and are responsible for the physical and emotional health and safety of their employees (see the Health and Safety at Work Act 1973, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1992). Employers have a legal responsibility to act if an employee is targeted at work, to protect both the victim and their co-workers.
More importantly, perhaps, under the Employment Rights Act 1996, a company can be held liable if someone uses workplace collateral in the commission of a crime. For example, if an employee uses a company phone to talk a former partner, the company is culpable.
16daysofaction.co.uk provides a toolkit to enable businesses to raise awareness of domestic violence. It includes briefings, posters, videos, podcasts, tweets and blogs which can be used as stepping stones to initiate a conversation around education and disclosure of these issues.
Companies can sign The Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge to demonstrate its commitment to the global fight against domestic violence, and by contacting The Corporate Alliance, you can begin to set up an infrastructure to deal with domestic violence outside these 16 Days.
“Research commissioned by The Corporate Alliance in 2011 indicated that 87% of employers want to address the needs of employees who endure domestic abuse and violence yet does not know how. That is what we do.”