Domestic abuse - how employers can help an employee or colleague

Published 18th August 2020

This isn't love. If you are experiencing abuse and need help or support call us on  0121 552 6448. In an emergency dial 999

Measures to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak have drastically altered people’s day to day lives. Many organisations have been preparing for a resulting increase in domestic abuse.

Sandwell Council is encouraging employers to consider how they may be able to support staff who are victims of domestic abuse. 

Councillor Farut Shaeen, cabinet member for living healthy lives, said: “Working at home can increase the sense of isolation that victims of domestic abuse can often feel, and employers may need to consider this in planning and prioritising staff returning to the workplace.

“Victims may feel they are isolated, but we want them to know that their voices are being heard.”

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton, added: “Employers have a crucial role to play in helping staff who are victims of domestic abuse, by reassuring someone at risk that they are not alone and signposting them towards help available.

“Employers and colleagues can be a lifeline for people living with domestic abuse.”

Sandwell Council has compiled a wealth of valuable information including helpful, practical information for employers and employees.

The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse website has a range of resources to support employers.  See also this toolkit from Business in the Community which can help employers deliver their duty of care in relation to domestic abuse.

Victims of domestic abuse can contact Black Country Women’s Aid directly for support:

  • Call the 24-hour helpline on 0121 552 6448
  • Text or WhatsApp on 07384 466 181 (9am – 9pm weekdays)
  • Call 999 in an emergency

If friends, family or work colleagues are worried about someone who may be in a violent or abusive relationship, there’s valuable advice in an information leaflet which you can download.

If you are worried about your own behaviour towards others, call the Respect helpline on 0808 8010 327.

Always remember that, if a situation is critical, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are in danger and unable to talk there are systems in place to help:

  • Listen and try to respond to the operator’s questions by coughing or tapping the headset.
  • On a landline, the operator will automatically connect to the police if they cannot establish if an emergency service is needed.
  • On a mobile, the caller can use the silent solution system by pressing 55 when prompted by the operator to transfer the call to the police.
  • If someone is unable to call 999 because of hearing or speech impairments, please consider registering with the emergency text service website.