Domestic abuse victims suffering in silence at work

Original article: 2BR Lancashire | Nov. 29, 2018

A new study has found that domestic abuse victims only tell their bosses what's happening once they get in trouble over their performance.

Research by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) also found that union representatives played a key role in supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse.  In workplaces where unions were recognised there was better partnership work between union representatives and managers to support victims.

The team interviewed nearly 40 trade union officers from across the north of England about their views on and experience of working with line managers and HR staff who had supported victims of domestic violence.

They found the workplace remains a haven for many victims, financially, physically and emotionally, but many managers were still unaware of the signs that their employees suffering.

The research was carried out by Dr Gemma Wibberley and Dr Carol Jones from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

They also worked with Dr Tony Bennett, a senior lecturer in management at Sheffield Hallam University.

Dr Jones from the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise at UCLan said:

"The important role that maintaining employment plays in the lives of victims of domestic violence is beginning to be recognised.

"Having the opportunity for financial independence can assist employees who are experiencing domestic violence to escape from an abusive relationship. It can also improve their sense of self-esteem and motivation and go some way to countering negative messages from abusive partners.

"Workplaces need to be seen as safe environments where employees feel that they can disclose their situation in a supportive environment if the proposed legal provision is to be effective. The training and awareness raising necessary to ensure this happens will be challenging for employers and where unions are recognised, they can assist in this."

Dr Tony Bennett said:

"All organisations need a coherent domestic violence policy that supports staff when experiencing abuse and clearly sets out how that is to be achieved. Given that the Domestic Violence Bill is at committee stage in the House of Commons, it is an ideal time for that to be incorporated in law."