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2020 National Women's Conference
25 October 2019
Carried as Amended

Conference notes the research conducted by Bennett, Jones and Wibberley in 2018 for the TUC and University of Central Lancashire on �The role of trade union officers and reps in supporting employees who are experiencing domestic violence/abuse. This calls for resources and support to be directed towards giving union reps the skills required to provide a supportive and well informed approach to dealing with workplace problems faced by women experiencing domestic violence. These can range from increased absence, through to changes in behaviour and performance which lead to disciplinary and capability issues, through to perpetrators harassing them in the workplace, and financial difficulties or need for extra leave, connected with leaving an abusive relationship.UNISON�s resource base for representatives is cited as an example of good practice, as it includes a robust workplace policy that can be used as a basis for negotiating with employers, and information on help and support available. UNISON is already providing a lot of practical advice and support to reps.However, training, however provided, is not always easy to access due to constraints on time and availability, furthermore many workplace policies do not incorporate an understanding of the role of domestic violence in affecting people at work, especially as most of them require the employee to disclose the abuse to management.The issue is an emotive one, and it may be difficult for a rep to deal with the complex emotions raised if domestic abuse is disclosed to them, and it may be hard for the rep to remain detached, especially if they have ever experienced abuse. The research highlights the need to provide extra support and guidance for reps dealing with such cases. Conference calls upon the National Women’s Committee to:1) Liaise with LAOS to start the development of a comprehensive package of training for all types of representatives covering the possible impact of domestic violence in the workplace, including how to seek support for themselves when dealing with a member who is experiencing domestic abuse, as well as actually supporting the member.2) To liaise with LAOS to look at how the union can incorporate the needs of women affected by domestic violence in its main training for representatives, including reaccreditation for existing reps.3) To encourage representatives to negotiate domestic violence/abuse policies in their workplace that reference the possible impact on employees� attendance/performance, and include the possible involvement of trade unions in supporting women affected by domestic violence.4) To roll out the awareness training, and in doing so, encourage branches to ensure that an awareness of the impact of domestic violence is worked into key workplace policies, such as capability/performance management, absence policies, and special/compassionate leave policies.