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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence is a hidden workplace issue yet, according to a Public Health England report, more than 20% of employees take time off work because of domestic violence, and 2% lose their jobs as a direct result of the abuse. Research also shows that 75% of domestic abuse victims are targeted at work.

The Leeds Mindful Employers Network is working in partnership with Behind Closed Doors to raise awareness amongst Leeds employers of how to effectively support employees impacted by Domestic Abuse.

The online event, “Effectively Supporting Employees affected by Domestic Abuse: A Trauma informed approach”, will give valuable insight from the experts at Behind Closed Doors.

Being held on 6th December, the event will also see the launch the new Leeds Mindful Employer Network Resource, “Supporting employees Affected by Domestic Abuse”.

You can register your free place here.

Mindful Employer Project Coordinator, Leigh Staunton met with Behind Closed Doors’ Training and Development Officer, Mell Handley to chat about why they decided to raise awareness of domestic abuse amongst Leeds employers.

Click on the image to view a larger version. 

Why is domestic abuse something employers should be considering?

From the very ONS data, we know that 1 in 5 people, of all genders, are likely to experience domestic violence and abuse in their lifetime.

There is considerable research showing domestic abuse impacts on workplaces and on individuals’ productivity, so understanding abuse and knowing how to support employees is the right thing to do for your staff, and the right thing to do for your business.

What would you say to an employer who is worried about saying something?

Most people say they aren’t offended by being asked about domestic abuse, as long as it is done in an appropriate way and in the right context. We always recommend asking if you are concerned, as this asking might prompt an individual to feel you are a person that can be trusted to confide in.

Behind Closed Doors offers training on how you can talk to employees sensitively about what is going on for them and many employers say they feel more confident in having the ‘awkward conversation’ as a result of our workshops.

The most important thing you can do is to listen and believe what the person is telling you.

Why did you want to do this event and make this resource leaflet with Mindful Employer?

Employers are in a unique position to notice potential signs of abuse and therefore to signpost their staff to support. I know that Mindful Employers recognise their responsibilities for the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce and will therefore want to know how they can best provide support.

Many managers tell me they don’t have the confidence to broach the subject of domestic abuse or wouldn’t know how to offer appropriate support if they were aware of an employee going through it, so they often avoid the subject altogether and miss a valuable opportunity to get someone the help they need.

After attending our workshops and bespoke training employers report feeling far more confident in knowing how to handle this issue, and if that means that individuals are supported more quickly and potentially then we have achieved our aim of building lives free from domestic abuse.

This event is free and open to all local employers and business owners. Book your place here.