New toolkit for employers on handling domestic abuse

Public Health England (PHE) and Business in the Community have published a new toolkit to help employers support workers who are affected by domestic abuse.

One in four women and one in six men suffer from domestic abuse in their lifetime and domestic abuse apparently costs businesses £1.9 billion every year due to decreased productivity, time off work, lost wages and sick pay. The new domestic abuse toolkit is aimed at raising awareness of the issue with employers and providing guidance on how they can support those affected by it. The toolkit, developed in consultation with employers, will help them spot the signs and symptoms of domestic abuse, which include frequent absence, lateness or needing to leave work early, reduced quality and quantity of work or missing deadlines, changes in the way an employee communicates (e.g. a large number of personal calls or texts or a strong reaction to personal calls) and physical signs and symptoms, such as unexplained or frequent bruises or other injuries.

The toolkit provides three key actions for employers:

• Acknowledge – employers should use the toolkit to help understand the issues and acknowledge their responsibility to address domestic abuse, by enabling staff to openly discuss the topic
• Respond – employers should review their policies and processes to ensure they’re providing a supportive workplace and can respond to disclosure
• Refer – access should be provided to organisations who can help employees affected by the issue.

The toolkit is part of a suite of toolkits for employers developed by PHE in association with Business in the Community. The other employer toolkits available cover: mental health for employers; drugs, tobacco and alcohol; musculoskeletal health in the workplace; reducing the risk of suicide; crisis management in the event of a suicide; physical activity, healthy eating and healthier weight; and sleeping and recovery.

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