Creating a lifeline for those affected by domestic abuse can be a crucial step in helping them to find a way out of their situation. This could be an opportunity to provide vital information and tools, such as recognising the signs and signposting them to resources and support, to responding safely with a workplace policy.
There is an extremely valuable role to be played by businesses and organisations in helping to break the cycle of domestic abuse. Making your workplace a safe place, where colleagues can discuss, disclose and ask for help, will organically benefit and ripple out across staff, clients and the wider community.
As an employer, manager or work colleague that is equipped to understand, ‘what domestic abuse is’ and ‘respond safely and effectively’ to any signs, provides an invaluable access point to prevention and early intervention; benefiting the victim, the workplace and the wider community.
It could be that signs of financial and economic abuse could be notice by staff in a bank, insurance company or solicitors office. Signs of psychological abuse could be noticed in a restaurant, hotel or bar staff. Signs of coercive control could be noticed by a teacher, hairdresser or dentist and signs of stalking or harassment maybe noticed by staff at the gym or nursery. A recent study of some Essex and Kent DHR’s (Domestic Homicide Reviews), where the victim was killed, Alpha Vesta could identify on average 12 workplaces/organisations that came into contact with both the victim and perpetrator across their journey but were ill equipped to recognise the signs of abuse and effectively respond. These included solicitors, dentists, hairdressers, gyms, religious groups, schools, insurance companies, private hospitals and healthcare providers.
Alpha Vesta recognises the need within businesses and organisations for greater expertise, awareness and understanding around domestic abuse and any related stalking and harassment.
Our approach focuses on:
- The key role of the workplace to build a workforce culture of awareness and understanding of domestic abuse which naturally filters into our communities.
- The key role of the workplace to be equipped to recognise and respond to signs of domestic abuse at an earlier point before escalation or crisis occurs.
We believe many of the costs associated with domestic abuse could be dramatically reduced with more preventative work and robust interventions at an earlier stage. Often high-risk victims will have to leave their homes, families, jobs and support network and go into refuge to keep themselves and their children safe. Some of these cases sadly end up as domestic homicides where any intervention has been too late or ineffective, but there are early warning signs which, although subtle, can be detected and responded to safely and effectively.
This is not to suggest that any one person should try and take on responsibility to ‘fix this’ for someone. Anyone experiencing or perpetrating Domestic Abuse will need multi-agency support to break the cycle. No-one can do this alone, however, through awareness, prevention and early intervention, you may be the first person to recognise the signs and that reaches out to someone at an earlier point in their journey.