Duncan Lewis

Family Law

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Businesses urged to help network in cause for domestic violence victims

Date: (29 August 2012)    |    

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Many men and women who are abused at places where they should be feeling safe such as workplace often do not tell their employers fearing being spurned or overlooked for promotion. It is believed seventy five percent of victims are targeted at work often via phone calls or threatening messages.

One in four women and one in six men are affected by domestic violence which apart from the private torment constitutes a colossal economic cost of £1.9bn a year. Victims of domestic violence are more likely to be off sick or turn up late, through no fault of their own, so employers who protect workers from their tormentors will reap a direct economic benefit.

An event to be held in Yorkshire next month is aiming to help domestic violence victims by encouraging more companies to create a support network for them.

The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV) is made up of big companies who are working together to support victims. They are also encouraging their abusers to seek help.

The CAADV, which was founded by Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, will be holding a business breakfast at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on September 6 to encourage more firms to join the alliance.

Melissa Morbeck, the executive director at CAADV, said the charity’s work was aimed at people who suffer domestic violence, people who witness it and those who commit it. She wants firms becoming part of the ‘safety planning process’ and ensure there were people at workplaces championing the cause of people who have been affected by domestic violence.

She added the aim of the event in Leeds was to spread the word that victims were not alone. As of now fifteen businesses have come forward since the end of February who have asked for help.

Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employer organisation, which is sponsoring the CAADV’s Leeds event, said, two women are killed as a result of domestic violence each week, and one man a fortnight dies on an average.

The NHS is facing challenging times with the need to identify and make efficiency savings of £20bn. Some might argue that tackling domestic violence is low down the priority list. But beyond the moral imperative to act, there is a strong business case to consider, given the costs to employers of lost time due to sickness and reduced productivity.

Since 2005 – the year CAADV was formed – the NHS ran a campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence among its managers. With help from CAADV, employers could ensure safety of victims by having action plan for security staff to deal with abusers who try to contact victims at work. Walking staff to cars, taxis or train stations. Staff can be trained to spot signs of domestic abuse, and a person in the firm can be appointed to provide counselling.

One of the sponsors said that strong domestic violence policies in the workplace provide protection, empowerment and reassurance to employees at a time when they most need it.