Spotting the signs of domestic abuse, at work

HR specialists Waddington Brown got together with the Lighthouse charity for a training event about

HR specialists Waddington Brown got together with the Lighthouse charity for a training event about domestic abuse, and where it might show or impact on the workplace. Stephanie Harris, Waddington Brown, Deb Johnson, Lighthouse, Emma Gunton, Waddington Brown, Rosie Barrack, Waddington Brown, Katherine Ashulwalia, Lighthouse, Laura Squirrell, Lighthouse, Gill Dean, Lighthouse Picture: SONIA SHELCOTT - Credit: Millriver Publicity

HR specialists Waddington Brown collaborated with Lighthouse to highlight the effects of domestic abuse in the workplace, and the impact it has on business.

The Ipswich event coincided with the National White Ribbon Campaign – 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence.

Suffolk businesses learnt how an estimated 8 million paid workdays are lost due to this problem.

Many workplaces are simply not trained or prepared to deal with the situation and with domestic abuse cases on the rise in Suffolk, up by 27% in the last year alone, the need for training and awareness in this subject area has never been more important.

Katherine Ashulwalia, training co-ordinator at Lighthouse said: “Victims frequently find the workplace to be a safe haven—a place where they can feel `normal,’ have friends, and feel valued. In addition, without the financial resources that employment brings, they often have little hope for financial independence.”

She added: “For these very reasons, an abuser might feel threatened by the victim’s workplace and might want to sabotage work attendance and performance. The workplace is an easy place for an abuser to track down a victim.”

“An employer should be prepared to implement policies, practices and procedures to help manage domestic violence victims, assist them in seeking the advice and support they need and prevent workplace violence.”

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“I think what we have all taken away from today’s session is that as an employer are we looking after our own people? Are we talking about it?’” said Emma Gunton, managing director of Waddington Brown.

“Having a Domestic Abuse Policy in place and nominating a domestic abuse champion in your organisation can help. However, it is important to support these policies by providing training for your staff so that they can adequately handle issues of domestic abuse.”

Lighthouse also delivers Domestic Abuse awareness training for businesses, agencies and charities. They provide a healthy relationships programme for schools called Expect Respect.

More than £250 was raised at the event from registrations, which were donated to the Lighthouse charity.