Workplace domestic abuse policies

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2017 Energy Service Group Conference
28 February 2017

Conference notes that following on from a women’s conference decision in 1998, a model domestic abuse workplace policy and accompanying guidance were produced.

It is the intention that all UNISON workplaces have such a policy in existence, and many have been negotiated in the public sector. However, they are still not commonplace in the private sector, with few in Energy companies.

This is despite statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which revealed that:

a) UK businesses lose 1.9 Billion each year because of domestic violence;

b) 1 in 5 women victims will take time off work because of domestic abuse;

c) 2 in every hundred victims will lose their jobs;

d) And of those who remain in work, 75% will be harassed, abused, threatened or assaulted at their workplace.

Conference notes that domestic abuse knows no boundaries. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are affected; domestic abuse accounts for 16% of all violent crime in England and Wales, with 2 women a week and 30 men each year murdered.

The impact on our members cannot be underestimated. Both on the victims and their colleagues who may struggle to support them; be covering for their absence and/or feel at risk themselves if the abuser is making contact at the workplace.

Further, given the nature of the membership in the energy sector, many of our members may be working in isolation without access to easy support – either emotional or practical. It is therefore crucial that UNISON offers support to any members experiencing domestic abuse.

Conference calls upon the SGE to encourage branches to:

1) seek recognition from the employer that they have a responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their employees, and therefore to implement workplace domestic abuse policies, based on the UNISON model policy;

2) implement management training on recognising the signs of domestic abuse, incorporated into existing return to work processes where appropriate;

3) raise awareness of the UNISON There for You assistance available to members experiencing domestic abuse;

4) consider providing training for workplace reps on supporting members experiencing domestic abuse.