Employers: Why you need a Domestic Abuse Policy

Media coverage surrounding domestic abuse can be triggering for anyone, particularly those who are suffering with or have previously suffered from any form of abuse. The trauma that follows the seemingly frequent reports of cases of domestic abuse in the news, was brought to our attention again in January 2022 following the reports of violence and abuse that have been made against Manchester United footballer Mason Greenwood. 

As we know, sadly domestic abuse is not uncommon: 

  • 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 4 men, will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime. 
  • Domestic abuse to leads to an average of 2 women being murdered each week and 30 men per year 
  • Domestic abuse account for 16% of all violent crime but is still the least likely to be reported to the police.  
  • Domestic abuse is the single most quoted reason for an individual becoming homeless 

 (Sources – Crime in England and Wales Report, Shelter) 

Some forms of domestic abuse may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Physical acts of violence 
  • Psychological abuse 
  • Economic abuse 
  • Sexual abuse 
  • Coercive control  
  • Tech abuse  

As a firm, we are constantly reflecting on our policies and practices and as we introduce new, more progressive policies it is important that we create a culture at MSB where they are understood, and where all employees feel they can rely upon the policies we introduce.  

We had been writing a Domestic Abuse policy and, in light of the recent news coverage, we felt it was of great importance that this policy was made readily available to our employees as soon as possible. 

Domestic abuse is a hidden crime, largely committed in the home of the victim or perpetrator, and often under the guise of a loving relationship. It may often be the case that those experiencing abuse feel shame, feel that they deserve to be treated this way, and may fear that confiding in another for support could have dangerous repercussions for themselves or compromise their safety. 

At MSB, understand that we have a duty to support our employees’ mental health, wellbeing and safety, and we want for every employee to be able to bring their best selves to work. This is not always possible for those suffering from domestic abuse. Their performance levels may drop, they may have increased lateness or absences due to the issues surrounding their abuse, and it is important that as an employer we have a supportive policy in place for the employee. But often the signs of domestic abuse can be hard for an employer or colleague to spot, which is all the more reason for employers to introduce a policy which employees feel they can rely on, and which sets the tone for the company culture.  

For any policy to be effective, it needs to align with the core values of the firm and its people. Employees should be able to depend on the policy and have trust in the people implementing it. It is important that the firm has a policy that assures employees that reports of abuse will be treated seriously and sensitively, and that there is people within the organisation who can offer support and signpost to local organisations/charities for specialist advice. 

We urge other employers to recognise the importance of supporting those within their workplace who are suffering from abuse, and are more than happy to share our Domestic Abuse policy with any employers who would like to implement similar practices and support for their employees. 

To request a copy of our Domestic Abuse policy please contact our Head of Employment Law,  stevendavies@msbsolicitors.co.uk. 

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