Earlier this year I wrote about the need to include a domestic violence awareness and support programme into companies’ wellbeing strategies. There were many stats that brought home the impact on businesses of domestic violence, including loss of productivity, increased absenteeism and the effect on other employees, all leading to a cost to UK businesses of £1.9 billion per annum. As a reminder, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. The violence will not always manifest itself in terms of physical violence. Any act involving treating a partner in a ‘controlling’ fashion is considered domestic violence.
November 25th marked the start of the 16 Days of Action Campaign. This is an international campaign that started in 1991; since then, over 5,000 groups in almost 200 countries have taken part. The campaign is designed to support people in local communities and organisations worldwide, raising awareness on the issues of domestic violence. If you missed my previous article or have not yet implemented anything to address domestic violence within your workplace wellbeing strategy, hopefully the campaign will act as a focal point to inspire change.
What can your organisation do?
- Develop a domestic violence policy including signposting employees towards support. This will underpin the health and wellbeing culture of your organisation.
- Raise awareness of your wellness programme. People who are impacted by domestic violence often feel they have no one to speak to – targeted promotion of your Employee Assistance Programme towards sufferers of domestic violence can offer a valuable avenue of support.
- Ensure support is available through accredited and specialist trained HR and practitioner professionals.
Organisations such as the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence provide advice and a range of services across each of these areas. The Alliance has also developed a website to help organisations with communication and awareness. Melissa Morbeck, Corporate Alliance Director, says the website “allows organisations to engage in a way that is most relevant to their workplace”. The toolkit is particularly useful, and includes posters, podcasts and briefing notes.
16 Days of Action is an excellent way to raise awareness but I would urge you not to just be aware, but to do what it says on the tin – take action.