Charity launches free domestic abuse advice line for businesses

A new advice line for businesses supporting employees experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse has been launched by a crisis support charity.

One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime with 10 per cent of victims reporting abuse at work, according to TUC statistics.

The Everyone’s Business Advice Line will be a point of contact for businesses, supporting them on how to approach disclosures of domestic abuse by staff, particularly in light of Covid-19. They will also receive advice so that they can signpost staff to specialist domestic abuse services.

The charity, Hestia, says Lockdown has shown that home is not always safe for everyone, and with more people working remotely, cases of domestic abuse are rising. The charity saw a 47 per cent increase in victims reaching out for information and support on its free domestic abuse app, Bright Sky.

Employers have an important role to play in supporting their employees, particularly this year and during the pandemic

While over 2.4 million people are affected by domestic abuse every year, it can be difficult for employers to recognise the signs and support those experiencing it in their organisation. Hestia launched the Everyone’s Business programme to increase awareness and support in the workplace and have worked with over 70 organisations from the Metropolitan Police to Balfour Beatty.

“Lockdown has meant victims have been away from their place of work, in isolation with their abusers, often with no way to seek support,” said advice line head Lyndsey Dearlove.

“Now, as more people return to their place of work, employers have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse.

“By providing a free advice line that offers guidance, employers will be able to help their employees and direct them to practical support. When employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, we know it saves lives. For too long domestic abuse has been nobody’s business and it is time it becomes everyone’s business.”

Susan Bright, Global Managing Partner for Diversity and Inclusion and Responsible Business at Hogan Lovells, said: “Domestic abuse can have devastating consequences, and leave people faced with impossible life choices.

“Employers have an important role to play in supporting their employees, particularly this year and during the pandemic. We welcome the launch of the new advice line and hope that it will ease some of the pressure on those who are vulnerable.”

Details are available here