A new Everyone's Business advice line for businesses supporting employees experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse has been launched by crisis support charity, Hestia.
According to a Trades Union Congress report, one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, with 10% of victims reporting abuse at work.
The Everyone’s Business advice line is being set up specifically for businesses, supporting them on how to approach disclosures of domestic abuse by their employees, particularly in light of COVID-19. Employers will also receive advice so that they can signpost staff to specialist domestic abuse services.
Hestia says lockdown has seen that, with more people working remotely due to COVID-19, cases of domestic abuse are rising. The charity reports a 47% increase in victims reaching out for information and support on its free domestic abuse app, Bright Sky.
Recognising the signs and supporting those experiencing domestic abuse is not always straightforward for employers, and Hestia has launched the Everyone’s Business programme to increase awareness and support in the workplace. So far, the charity has worked with over 70 organisations, from the Metropolitan Police to Balfour Beatty.
Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of Everyone’s Business advice line at Hestia said, 'Lockdown has meant victims have been away from their place of work, in isolation with their abusers, often with no way to seek support. 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.'
Elizabeth Filkin, Chair, Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse said, 'Members of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse believe that domestic abuse is everyone’s business, and that businesses have a critical role to play in supporting those affected by domestic abuse...We know that it’s not always easy to know what to do when domestic abuse [is disclosed], so having the Everyone’s Business Advice Line available for HR professionals or managers to support them and guide them is a very valuable resource.'
For more information and the contact details, visit the Everyone's Business webpage on the Hestia website. Employers can contact the Everyone's Business advice line 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday on 07770 480437 or 0203 879 3695, or via email at Adviceline.EB@hestia.org.