Domestic abuse can impact on the workplace. The morale, health and self-confidence of an abused employee can be affected and this in turn can impact on their performance at work. Colleagues may also be affected by having to cover a survivor’s workload or feeling unable to help when they know there is a problem. Domestic abuse currently costs UK business over £2.7 billion a year due to lost economic output through decreased productivity, absenteeism, errors and increased employee turnover. By proactively addressing the issue, organisations can both reduce the costs to their business and help prevent domestic abuse in society at large.
Employers must be clear that domestic violence should be treated with the same degree of seriousness as any other form of harassment, violence or abuse and is not to be tolerated. This provides an explicit statement that offers reassurance to employees experiencing domestic violence and acts as a warning to perpetrators. Employers must ensure that employees experiencing domestic violence receive a sympathetic, supportive and non-judgmental response, which reinforces that the abusive behaviour is the responsibility of the perpetrator. No proof of violence is needed and a survivor’s statement alone will be sufficient for them to be given access to information on appropriate local agencies and support in accessing protection and help. The Helplines in the End the Fear directory will send out publicity material which can be displayed in the workplace, they will also offer advice to friends, family and employers around issues of domestic abuse.