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Government drive to bolster workplace support for DA victims

The UK government is to make it easier for people enduring domestic abuse to get help at work.

The drive follows publication of the report into a review of workplace support for domestic abuse victims to establish how government and employers can tackle the problem.

As a result, the government will set up a working group of employers, representatives of domestic abuse victims, trade unions and others to meet regularly to suggest measures employers can implement to support survivors.

The report found a lack of awareness of warning signs, stigma around talking about domestic abuse in the workplace, and a lack of knowledge about specialist services are preventing domestic abuse survivors getting the help they need in the workplace.

Business Minister Paul Scully plans to consult on steps which can be taken so survivors can better exercise their existing employment rights, such as requesting flexible working.

In an open letter to all British employers, he referred to the report’s finding that few companies are aware of the signs of domestic abuse and fewer have a clear policy to support survivors.
“For too long, a lack of awareness of and stigma around speaking about domestic abuse has stopped workplaces from putting in place the kind of help that survivors so desperately need.
“It was once taboo to talk about mental health, but now most workplaces have well-established policies in place. We want to see the same happen for domestic abuse, but more quickly and more effectively…

“I am not asking that employers become specialists in handling domestic abuse, nor that colleagues should take on the role of healthcare workers or counsellors … What I want to do is burst the stigma associated with domestic abuse.”

In the letter he outlines the key, practical steps employers can take to build awareness of domestic abuse, ensure they are noticing warning signs, and help workers access the support they need.

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