Domestic Abuse/Violence – Workplace Agreements

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2010 National Delegate Conference
22 February 2010
Carried as Amended

Conference recognises that domestic abuse/violence is a complex issue that will often need complex solutions. Conference also recognises that domestic abuse/violence is a workplace issue that requires effective and progressive workplace policies and procedures if it is to be recognised by employers as a real workplace issue.

Domestic abuse/violence is a workplace issue that affects all genders either as victims or perpetrators and its affects can be far reaching. Home and work issues cannot always be easily separated and domestic abuse/violence can have a huge impact on job performance, which often results in disciplinary action, can threaten job prospects, career development and security. Conference recognises that we must be committed to supporting members who are affected by domestic abuse/violence and the most effective way of doing this, is by negotiating a workplace agreement.

Conference notes that the most up to date Home Office Statistics show that 14% of all violent incidents are for domestic abuse/violence. That victims of domestic abuse suffer repeat violent crime more that any other victim of violent crime, 66%, and that 21% of victims will be assaulted more that three times. Conference further notes that in the most recent Scottish Crime Survey one in three women admitted to being abused or frightened by their current or previous partner. Conference recognises that many of these women will be UNISON members and that inevitably UNISON members will be perpetrators.

Conference welcomes the model workplace agreement available from UNISON. It also notes the recent resolution from the Womens Conferene supporting the excellent Belfast Trust Branch model agreement which has secured training and paid release for 30 members to support victims of abuse by ‘sign-posting’ them to relevant support organisations such as Women’s Aid. However, given current research and improving practices conference believes that workplace/agreements need to include provisions on how to deal with employees who are perpetrators.

Conference welcomes the work of Refuge and Respect, national charities working with both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse/violence, and recognises that their toolkit for employers for dealing with domestic abuse/violence is the most progressive and inclusive available in the UK to date.

Conference instructs the National Executive Council to:

1)To consider how the Refuge & Respect toolkit could be used to enhance UNISON’s model workplace agreement;

2)Lobby the government to make workplace agreements a statutory requirement for all public sector employers in line with their gender equality duty.