At an event attended by employers and domestic abuse practitioners, on Wednesday 13th July, in Manchester, Independent Choices announced the launch of an employment support information service for women affected by domestic abuse. This provision will increase the organisation’s ability to deliver advice and support to women on a wide range of complex issues. Karen Harrison, Service Manager at Independent Choices said, “Many women are at threat of losing their employment because of the impact that domestic abuse has on their employment. We are delighted that our Helpline will be able to provide more support to women who have workplace problems including, safety, time off to deal with appointments and childcare, and concerns for their job security due to sickness absence for example.” This provision draws upon the unique work developed by the Domestic Abuse Women’s Support Project (DAWES), a specialist support service combining expertise in employment law, workplace relations with awareness of domestic abuse issues. Up until the beginning of this year, DAWES was based at the Greater Manchester Pay and Employment Rights Advice Service until it was forced to close due to cuts to funding. “DAWES has successfully supported women to stay in their employment and assisted employers to develop effective domestic abuse policies. We are delighted that Independent Choices can take elements of this work forward’, said Allison Foreman. Allison who managed the DAWES project has worked in close partnership with Independent Choices to develop the helpline’s expertise and will undertake casework and coordinate appropriate casework referrals. Information is also available to employers on request to enable them to develop good practice, and training and consultancy can be provided as an additional service. Lynn Collins, Secretary of the North West Trade Union Congress also spoke about why domestic abuse is a workplace issue, and discussed their support for the campaign to improve support for workers who experience domestic abuse. At the launch event participants took part in a session exploring ways to develop effective domestic abuse policies and identify practical ways of supporting women in the workplace. Many reported that the event had raised a number of issues that they had not thought about. One employer commented that the event had raised their awareness of what employers can do to support staff. “Some really common sense changes that can be implemented with little financial impact that can make a real change.” For further information about the service, please contact Karen Harrison, 0161 636 7525 You will find details here about the Employment support Independent Choices offer.
Organisations promoting good practice amongst employers CAADV www.caadv.org.uk/ Equality and Human Rights Commission http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/wales/projects/your-business-workplace-policies-on-domestic-abuse-and-mental-health/domestic-abuse-is-your-business/