Workplace Policies on Domestic Abuse

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2007 National Women's Conference
25 October 2006
Carried as Amended

The issue of domestic abuse is not a new issue but an ongoing one. Many women of all nationalities and cultures suffer in their everyday work and domestic life. 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. 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 Headquarters.

UNISON was one of the first unions to raise the workplace issue of domestic abuse and negotiate policies and procedures. Some workplaces do have policies which work well, others do not.

We instruct the National Women’s Committee to:

1)investigate how many branches have negotiated a domestic abuse policy;

2)work to increase the number of employers who have and use policies on domestic abuse;

3)list what needs to be in a policy and circulate it to regional groups;

4)liaise with Labour Link to ensure employers are encouraged to produce and work with a domestic abuse policy;

5)report back on progress to Conference 2008.