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Domestic abuse: three ways to support employees and colleagues

Domestic abuse can affect anyone of any gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality or background. Coming to work is often a vital escape for victims of abuse and, as friends and work colleagues, we all have a duty to be vigilant for the signs and support one other. This is more vital than ever while people are working from home, and now life as we knew it has changed so much.

Here are three key ways you can help the people you work with.

1. Raise awareness

* Make sure you know the signs to look out for, which can include (but are not exclusive to) bruises, being withdrawn and not having control over personal finances.

You will find more information in this downloadable leaflet from Sandwell Council: Domestic Abuse COVID-19 – Information for Employers and Employees.

* Download, read and share this domestic abuse leaflet – also from Sandwell Council – aimed at helping friends, family and work colleagues know what to do if they’re worried about someone they know.

* Get this toolkit from Business in the Community, which gives detailed information aimed at employers.

* Visit the website for the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse for a variety of resources aimed at helping employers support their staff.

* Familiarise yourself with Sandwell Council’s page of domestic abuse resources for professionals, including council reviews, policies and charters as well as leaflets and case studies.

* Ask your manager about / offer your team safeguarding training opportunities.

* Spread awareness and resources amongst colleagues, and encourage others to be vigilant.

2. Offer support

If you know someone is experiencing domestic abuse:

* Reassure them that they are not alone.

* Listen to them, don’t blame them and don’t push them to talk or take action.

* Signpost them towards sources of help (see below).

* If someone’s in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

3. Know where to go for help

* Black Country Women’s Aid (blackcountrywomensaid.co.uk): 24-hour helpline 0121 552 6448, text or WhatsApp on 07384 466 181 (9am to 9pm weekdays)

* National Domestic Violence Helpline (nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk): 24-hour helpline 0808 2000 247

* Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

* Victim Support (victimsupport.org/westmidlands): 0300 303 1977

* Respect helpline – for anyone worried about their own behaviour: 0808 802 0231.

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