Support for those suffereing Domestic Violence

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2014 National Women's Conference
10 October 2013

Conference notes the rise in domestic violence; a staggering 1 million females were victims of domestic violence last year accounting for 1 in 5 of all assaults.

It has long been understood that domestic violence tends to increase during difficult periods for society, such as recession, and in these austere times with cuts to police and the criminal justice system; cuts to charities working on domestic violence that are funded by local government; and wider cuts to services that provide structural support, we have seen vital support mechanisms either diminish or disappear at a time they are most needed.

Conference welcomes that policies on domestic violence have been developed within the public sector to give support to many women who are at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives. These policies are particularly relevant to women in the workplace as they give support to them when they can feel they have few places to turn.

Individuals who do suffer domestic violence often express anger and concern about the lack of understanding from their employer, either because they feel unable to tell them what is happening, or that when they do there is little understanding of what help these individuals need. The ability for women to remain in employment whilst experiencing domestic violence relies on employers having robust domestic violence policies, which managers are aware of and remain vigilant in implementing.

It is imperative that the UNISON women are at the forefront of the defence and promotion of women’s rights. This conference asks the National Women’s Committee to:

1)Encourage branches to challenge proposals regarding cuts to services that may have a detrimental effect on services that individuals experiencing domestic violence may access.

2. Fight to protect the right of women members and promote the development of policies within the workplace by working with branches and regions to ensure that employers are adopting Domestic Violence polices in their workplace.

3. Encourage branches and regions to offer training for activists to make them aware of domestic violence policies in their work places, and how these can be used to support members.

4. Work with our representatives on the TUC Women’s Group alongside sister trade unions to highlight the impact and extent of domestic violence.

5. Campaign with our representatives on the TUC Women’s Group to highlight the need for affordable refuge for women experiencing domestic violence regardless of their socio-economic background.