Joining the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, the Government department has now called on other businesses to follow suit.
As part of a wider consultation concerning what employers can do to enhance support for domestic abuse survivors, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has now joined the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) as a Beacon member.
This move is intended to support people who have suffered from, or are at risk of, domestic abuse through raising awareness and education among staff and providing additional resources.
The department states that becoming an EIDA Beacon provides staff with access to a suite of training and development, including access to specialists who can offer a strategic review of domestic abuse and action for the department.
Additionally, it gives employers with account management to implement HR processes and procedures to support victims, survivors, and potential perpetrators.
This comes after a consultation launched by the Government found that many employers are not aware of the signs of domestic abuse. Furthermore, a very small number had a clear policy in place to support victims.
Cases of domestic abuse have been growing in the UK, especially during periods of national lockdown.
Between April 2020 and February 2021, Refuge research indicated that the number of calls made to its Domestic Abuse helpline had risen by over 60 per cent compared to 2020 data.
This rise in domestic abuse has also affected victims’ working lives.
Research by Surviving Economic Abuse revealed that abusers were resorting to new tactics such as hiding work equipment, wrongly informing a victim’s employer they had broken lockdown rules, or refusing to help with childcare.
Business Minister Paul Scully said:
Home should always be a safe place, but for many this sadly isn’t the case. For anyone experiencing or at risk from domestic abuse, I want to make sure help and support is readily available to them in the workplace.
No one should have to suffer in silence, and that’s why my department is joining the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse to ensure employees get the support they need. I would urge more businesses to join this important initiative, as this simple step could have a life-changing impact on domestic abuse survivors.
In an open letter published earlier this year, the Business Minister set out key steps employers could take to ensure victims of domestic violence are adequately supported and to eradicate stigma around the topic.
This included raising awareness of domestic abuse among staff including warning signs to look out for, being inclusive and creating a company culture where people can talk openly, signposting support, involving experts who are equipped to handle the situation and asking individuals directly what support their employer can practically offer.
Elizabeth Filkin CBE, Chair of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse said:
Working with government, charities, and opinion formers to stop domestic abuse and to get help for victims, there has been much progress in recognising the scale and impact of abuse and what steps business can take to stop it.
But there is more to do.
The BEIS contribution to our network will enable us to make great strides forward toward our aim of ending domestic abuse once and for all.