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Behind closed doors

The Insurance Charities are supporting employers in the insurance sector to tackle domestic abuse by sponsoring a Domestic Abuse toolkit, produced by Business in the Community and supported by Public Health England.

The practical toolkit is designed to sit within HR teams and with line managers to aid those dealing with this sensitive and difficult issue, regardless of the size of company. The toolkit will help employers identify the signs that abuse may be happening, such as personality changes, becoming withdrawn, spending a lot of time checking their phone, or arriving at work early and staying late, behaviour that is different and unusual to how they were previously.

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2017 approximately 6 in every 100 adults were a victim of domestic abuse. Such abuse does not discriminate, it can affect anyone.

The Insurance Charities has helped individuals and families who have had to flee a violent partner and start again with nothing, often losing touch with their extended family for fear of being tracked down by their ex-partner. Seeing those who try to start their lives again with little more than a suitcase, and helping them through re-establishing their life from scratch, has brought home how destructive domestic abuse is for the victims and their dependants.

Having access to resources like the Domestic Abuse toolkit can make this much easier for HR departments to implement, as the framework and guidelines are already provided. There are plenty of other benefits such as retaining staff, creating an open and caring workplace, and the cost savings of having a policy already provided. By having workplace guidance, it sends a clear message that abuse is not tolerated and victims will be supported.

Many companies are increasingly understanding of employee’s mental health issues and The Insurance Charities wants to push these boundaries further and make the workplace a safe place to discuss any issue which affects an employee’s ability to do their job.

Annali-Joy Thornicroft, CEO of The Insurance Charities said: “We have seen a growing number of people coming forward for support as a result of domestic abuse. Such individuals have often hidden what has been happening either at home or in the workplace, for fear of judgement or simply because they do not feel their HR colleagues would know how to best support them”.

The Domestic Abuse toolkit forms part of a suite of toolkits developed by Business in the Community, which can be downloaded on the Business in the Community website

Companies are invited to join The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, a network of over 170 companies and public sector organisations who are working to encourage, promote and develop action to help staff enduring domestic abuse, or who are perpetrators.

Source: The Insurance Charities