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Public Health England has launched a new Violence Toolkit to alert organisations to the hidden issue of domestic violence at work.

As part of the 16 Days of Action campaign against domestic violence, Public Health England (PHE) is providing the step-by-step guide for businesses on how they can tackle domestic violence and raise awareness of an issue that impacts health, wellbeing, and absence and turnover in the workplace.

The toolkit was commissioned by PHE and developed by The Corporate Alliance and the Latimer Group. It is aimed at all businesses, specifically those that lack the occupational health or HR infrastructure to tackle an issue like domestic violence in working environments.

The toolkit provides practical tools and resources to help businesses take action over the 16 Days (November 25 to December 10), from raising awareness internally using posters and internal communications messaging, to being visible daily through social media, blogs and podcasts. It also provides briefings for members of staff on how to address the issue.

A growing collection of research highlights the need for more businesses to be aware of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is a hidden workplace issue, yet more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence, and 2% lose their jobs as a direct result of the abuse. Research shows that 75% of domestic abuse victims are targeted at work.

Public Health England has signed the Responsibility Deal Pledge, addressing domestic violence in the workplace. For organisations who want to take further action, specialised and bespoke support is available from the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, says: "It is unacceptable that in England and Wales, two women a week die as a result of domestic violence, and many more suffer physical and mental harm.

"Workplaces are a safe space for many people living in violence and are key for providing opportunities for disclosure and support into safety. As it stands, domestic violence is a hidden issue in the workplace and companies can do more to support their employees who experience domestic abuse, train those who witness, and protect staff as a whole. Bringing discussions of domestic violence into the workplace is a crucial step in providing routes to safety for people enduring violence, and prompting perpetrators to reach out for help.

‘Signing up to the pledge and using the toolkit not only means businesses are supporting their staff and securing safety in the workplace, but they will also save on financial loss due to absence and turnover. It is a win win for businesses and we urge them to utilise this resource."

Dennis Howard, chairman of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence, adds: "The alliance is delighted to be working with Public Health England in this key awareness-raising during the 16 Days of Action. We urge all employers to recognise both the human cost, and the ultimate cost to UK businesses, of domestic violence and take effective, simple steps to help support their employees, not only during the 16 Days but going forward."

About the 16 Days of Action against Violence Toolkit for businesses

  • The toolkit is a step-by-step guide for businesses on how they can tackle domestic violence and raise awareness of an issue that impacts health, wellbeing, absence and turn over in the workplace. The toolkit has been commissioned by PHE and developed by CAADV.
  • The toolkit is a brief for companies to tackle domestic violence within these 16 Days.
  • The toolkit is available at www.16daysofaction.co.uk

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