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2007 Local Government Service Group Conference
23 February 2007

Conference notes that the Home Office has funded a three-year project for the Local Government Association to identify and promote good practice of councils and partner organisations in addressing domestic violence. In their guidance leaflet “Local Government’s Role in Tackling Domestic Violence”, one of the stated aims is to “develop domestic violence employment policies for their staff”.

The issue of domestic abuse is not a new issue but an ongoing one. It is predominantly, but not exclusively, women who are the victims of domestic abuse. The consequences are many and varied and may include physical, psychological, cultural and financial abuse. The abuse can be continuous or sporadic and often occurs during or after pregnancy.

Domestic abuse has no boundaries, it cuts through culture, class, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity and religion. One in four women suffers domestic abuse. Partners or ex-partners kill at least two women each week and it accounts for one quarter of all reported crime.

What is needed is for every workplace to have a policy that addresses the issues of domestic abuse both in the workplace and society in general. The policies need to address special paid or unpaid leave plus information about sources of help and support. Confidentiality should be respected and wherever possible a specialist available internally or externally as support.

UNISON was one of the first unions to raise the workplace issue of domestic abuse and negotiate policies and procedures. Many local government branches have risen to the challenge and have negotiated local policies.

Conference notes that a revised model workplace policy was produced in 2006, and is available on the UNISON website or from Bargaining Support / Membership Participation Unit at UNISON HQ.

Conference therefore :

1.urges any branch which has not yet negotiated a workplace policy on domestic abuse to take this opportunity to do so, using the model agreement as a reference point. existing workplace agreements on domestic abuse to ensure that they comply at a minimum with the model agreement. back to the Bargaining Support Unit on successes achieved in negotiating workplace policies.