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Domestic abuse: how employers can provide support during the COVID-19 pandemic


Domestic abuse can affect people from any walk of life, and comes in many different forms. A victim might be abused by their partner, a family member, a carer, or somebody else, and it might include coercive control, or financial, sexual or physical abuse.

Sadly, the pandemic and lockdown have led to an increase in levels of domestic abuse. Refuge said that in May 2020, it recorded a 66% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline over a three week period. It is also known that domestic abuse is linked to poor mental health. 42% of victims live with mental health problems, and 17% have planned or attempted suicide. Given the numbers, it is likely that every major employer has victims of abuse within their workforce.

This PDF guide from the City Mental Health Alliance covers the facts about domestic abuse, suggests some ways employers might start conversations if they are worried about a staff member, and offers some ideas to help if they know someone might be facing such a situation. This ranges from practical tips, such as offering alternative ways for the colleague to collect their salary to ensure it cannot be taken from them, to offering emotional support through counselling or your EAP.

It also includes some information about what do to if you suspect someone at your organisation is a perpetrator of domestic abuse. This includes both directing them to sources of help, and ensuring you have a robust policy that outlines what you will do if you discover evidence of abuse happening.

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City Mental Health Alliance
City Mental Health Alliance

City Mental Health Alliance focuses on supporting all City workers to achieve their full potential.

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