Supporting employees on domestic abuse

We have resources for local authorities to support those employees who they know, or fear, may be experiencing domestic abuse. 

Domestic abuse is a horrendous crime which can have a long-term and devastating impact on families and particularly children. It can take the form of psychological, physical, sexual, emotional or economic abuse, and occur in a wide range of domestic settings.

It is estimated that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. In normal times, work may be a victim’s only safe place. However, the recent increased need to work remotely or in greater isolation on the frontline means that many employees face increased risks of suffering domestic abuse without access to those safe places or support from their employer.

The LGA is therefore providing additional information and resources to local authorities, in their role supporting their communities and also as employers. 

We have resources for local authorities to support those employees who they know, or fear, may be experiencing domestic abuse. 

Domestic abuse – LGA guide for councils and the Domestic Abuse Bill 

The recent lockdown measures have highlighted the issue of domestic abuse. The LGA has provided additional guidance to local authorities on ways services can be supplemented or adapted to support domestic abuse victims. 

Read the LGA’s guide to tackling domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local authorities will also be aware that the Domestic Abuse Bill is working its way through Parliament. 

The Bill will bring into law a statutory definition of domestic abuse that includes coercive or controlling behaviour, as well as emotional and economic abuse. The Bill will also provide police forces with new powers through the Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Order, as well as place a duty on local authorities in England to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation. There is a wider package of non-legislative measures, which focus on raising awareness and increasing understanding of domestic abuse.

And for colleagues that may have missed the domestic abuse webinar, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s presentation is available on the LGA website.

Domestic abuse – the role of the employer

The stay-at-home measures required during coronavirus could place domestic abuse victims in more danger with greater exposure to those perpetrating the crime while at the same time traditional routes to help and support, such as schools, GPs and workplaces may be closed. Isolation will also mean that there are fewer opportunities to identify the early warning signs of abuse. 

Councils play a large role in our communities to prevent domestic abuse from happening, rather than just tackling the impact of it. As employers they will also want to be proactive in raising awareness of the problem in their workplace and to be prepared to respond appropriately if employees disclose their experience of domestic abuse, whether that is during the coronavirus pandemic or beyond as lockdown restrictions ease.

Additional resources for employers

LGA model employer policy on domestic abuse 
LGA workforce wellbeing resources 
Business in Community and the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse have published an employer’s toolkit

Additional resources for employees

National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available 24 hours a day, for free and in confidence support on 0800 2000 247

The Bright Sky mobile app (free to download) provides support and information to anyone who may be experiencing domestic abuse or is concerned about someone they know.

The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT) Domestic Violence Helpline provides confidential support to all members of the LGBT communities, their family, friends, and agencies supporting them on 0300 999 5428.

Men's Advice Line helpline provides a range of services aimed primarily at men suffering domestic abuse on 08450 646800.

Respect is UK domestic abuse organisation working with perpetrators, male victims and young people using violence in their close relationships on 020 7022 1801.

Government review of the role of employers supporting victims of domestic abuse

As part of raising awareness and tackling the issue, the Government has also published a call for evidence on the support that workplaces can provide for victims of domestic abuse (9 June 2020).

As part of this review, the Government aims to draw together the various existing strands of activity and will consider whether there is more that can be done in the workplace to support victims of domestic abuse. 

This draws attention to employers’ crucial role in tackling domestic violence, particularly because the coronavirus pandemic may be a very worrying time for victims of domestic abuse. 

Responses should be sent to by 9 September 2020. We would be grateful if you could copy your response to The Government intends to publish a report on the issues by the end of the year.