Domestic Abuse: a toolkit for employers

Support your employees by contributing to tackling domestic abuse.

Employers have a duty of care and a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment. Preventing and tackling domestic abuse is an integral part of this. This toolkit will help your organisation to support your employees and contribute to tackling domestic abuse.

Domestic Abuse: a toolkit for employers, has been updated for June 2021. It now includes information on the recently passed Domestic Abuse Act, new resources, initiatives and case studies.

First created in 2018 by Public Health England (PHE) and Business in the Community (BITC) the toolkit was informed by an evidence review by PHE, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Home Office Workplace Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse report. The publication of Domestic Abuse: a toolkit for employers was supported by The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse and sponsored by The Insurance Charities in 2018 and again in 2021.

Domestic abuse, employers and the COVID-19 pandemic

There are 2.3 million victims of domestic abuse each year1. Two thirds of whom are women, one third men, and two in ten offences recorded by the police are domestic abuse related. Two women each week and one man each month are killed in England and Wales by a current or former partner2. However these crimes are underreported, so the correct figures are likely to be be higher. Domestic abuse is a hugely destructive problem and we have a collective responsibility to tackle it.

Employers have a duty of care and a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment. Preventing and tackling domestic abuse is an integral part of this. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in new ways of working, with a significant increase in the numbers of people working from home. For those experiencing abuse, the workplace often offers a safe space and a respite away from their abuser. Colleagues and managers can often be the only other people outside the home that survivors talk to each day and are therefore uniquely placed to help spot signs of abuse.

This toolkit will help your organisation support your employees and contribute to tackling domestic abuse. It offers guidance on measures to implement to respond appropriately when an employee discloses abuse. The toolkit highlights potentially useful free resources for you and your team. It also signposts to external organisations that offer advice and support to employers and employees.

The four “R’s” approach

This framework is commonly used by employers to secure a clear response to domestic abuse.

  1. Recognise
    Use the information in this toolkit to help recognise the problem, and to enable managers and employees to understand that domestic abuse is a workplace issue that everyone can play a part in tackling.
  2. Respond
    Implement policies and processes that enable a supportive workplace which will respond appropriately to disclosure.
  3. Refer
    Provide access to internal confidential support and signpost appropriately to external organisations who can help employees that disclose abuse.
  4. Record
    If an employee discloses abuse, it is important to record the details of what is said as accurately as possible Should the abuse become subject to criminal proceedings, this is an exhibit and should be given to the police.

Download Domestic Abuse: a toolkit for employers for more information on this approach.

Other Business in the Community and Public Health England toolkits

View and download other toolkits in this series, developed in partnership with Public Health England (PHE)

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Reducing the risk of suicide

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Sleep and Recovery Toolkit

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References
  1. Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2020), Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2020, 25 November 2020
  2. Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2016), Intimate personal violence and partner abuse, 11 February 2016