Domestic abuse: employers it affects you too

August 20, 2014 11:11 am

This week the government has announced plans to expand the domestic abuse legislation. Many people will see this announcement as something detached from them. Something that affects someone else.

As a business owner you may not have given domestic abuse a second thought, in a commercial sense. Domestic abuse doesn’t affect businesses.

But it does.

1 in 4 women will be affected at some point in their lives. This means that as an employer at least 1 of your staff will be affected. And it isn’t just women who are victims.

Employees are often told to leave their home life at the door of their workplace. This just doesn’t happen. Domestic abuse affects the victim’s self esteem, their sense of self worth and their overall emotional self.

An employee’s emotional state can greatly affect their work life and your business. It can be disruption at work by their partner or a victims seeming unwillingness to work longer hours when the company needs them. Whilst it can be tempting to look at employment procedures if such things happen frequently, this could be a disastrous step for the employee and the company. As a responsible business owner you can help employees who are victims of domestic abuse in many ways.

Do not judge: understand your employees home life may be a difficult and scary place. The workplace may be the only place your employee feels safe.

So what sort of behaviours do you look out for? The simple answer is it isn’t just one: there may be lots of things occurring, for example, is your employee:

-anxious if their partner calls or if they have missed a call from their partner?
-unwilling to talk about their home life with their colleagues?
-concerned if asked to work with a member of the opposite sex for tasks?
-keen to make sure they leave on time and appear fretful if they don’t?
-reluctant to take part in work social events?

As I’ve said, no singular behaviour will tell you if your employee is a victim of domestic abuse, however, a pattern may give you some concerns.

Your employee may not want to talk about their home life, it often takes a victim over 2 years to tell the Police they have been the victim of domestic abuse. However, there are steps you can take to help protect your staff in the workplace.

To see what steps you can take to help protect your staff & your business, get in touch.


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