In the last two year the way many of us work has changed dramatically, with a large number of employees working from home either full or part time, particularly since the latest update earlier this month. For those who are in an abusive relationship the workplace may have been their only safe haven from their abuser. They may be stuck in the house with their abuser 24/7 with no way to escape the home. These employees are at risk as they are no longer seen on a daily basis by employers, line managers or colleagues.

Safe Lives have released advice on their website regarding domestic abuse and Covid-19 restrictions. This includes advice for:-

  • The victims of domestic abuse
  • Friends, family members and neighbours concerned about someone they believe is experiencing domestic abuse, and
  • Employers

It is crucial that if you, or someone you are concerned about, is in immediate danger you call 999 to seek immediate assistance from the police. If you are unable to talk the police offer alternative methods of communication. You can call 999 and press 55 to make use of their silent solutions system. You can also register for the police text service, by texting register to 999 and following the instructions.

It is crucial for employers and employees to keep in regular contact even if working from home. There should be regular structured contact with all employees as their line manager may be in the best possible position to check in with someone who is isolated and a victim of abuse.

If you are working from home you should try to keep in contact with a person you trust. This could be a family member, friend, neighbour or colleague. You could set up a regular time for a call or text to check in with them and let them know how you are. You could also set up a word or phrase to use so they know whether it is safe for you to talk or whether you need them to call the police on your behalf.

It is important to maintain self-care as much as possible at this time and stick to routines so far a possible. If you need to get out of the house then you may be able to use an excuse, for example you could say that you need to go food shopping as there were no online slots available.

There are organisations that offer professional support for victims of domestic abuse and they will be able to discuss your options as to how to get out of an abusive relationship and come up with safety planning with you.

Technology is a way abusers can control you, especially if you need this to work. Your employer should provide all the equipment you need to work remotely and they may also be able to offer advice on tech security. There are also apps available that ensure your devices are free from tracking software. AVA offer a digital safeguarding resource pack which can offer help in protecting yourself from technological abuse.

Employers can take steps in their organisation to ensure that their employees are receiving the support that they need if they are experiencing domestic abuse. It is important to create an environment where people feel safe to open up and speak. Employers should ensure that employees are aware of the support available and how to access this securely. This information could be included on the intranet or on payslips or other documents that are sent out to employees on a regular basis.

Employers or line managers should also be vigilant when on a video call or speaking to a employee. There are many signs to look out for, which could mean the employee is suffering from domestic abuse, including:-

  • Any sign of injury
  • Broken objects or damage to the home in the background
  • Any changes to usual behaviour
  • Wariness when a partner or family member enters the room
  • Withdrawal from team chats

We can help

You may be able to apply to court for a protective order, which can include removing the perpetrator from the family home. You may also be entitled to legal aid, depending on your financial situation.

If you want to discuss your legal options then call 01522 561020 or use the online chat and ask to speak to a member of the domestic abuse team.

We can arrange to speak to you at a safe time to provide advice.

How can we help?

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