Creating a fairer Britain
The Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Welsh Assembly Government are today hosting a half-day conference called Domestic abuse is your business.
Domestic abuse isn’t confined to the home when victims walk out the door and go to work – 75% of women who experience domestic abuse are harassed in the workplace. One in four women experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime and it costs businesses £2.7billion in lost economic output across Wales and the UK every year.
Today delegates from some of Wales’ largest public and private sector employers, HR specialists and trade unions will hear how, by taking a number of small practical steps on domestic abuse, they can reduce sickness, absence, save money and save lives.
Speakers include Stuart McKenna from the Co-operative group – one of a few private sector employers who have a domestic abuse policy.
Wales Commissioner Ann Beynon, of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, another of the speakers at the conference says: “Domestic abuse impacts on productivity and performance so supporting staff that have, or are experiencing domestic abuse, makes perfect business sense.
“Taking action and implementing a number of small steps is a good investment to retain skilled and experienced staff, as they will feel safe and supported thus increasing their commitment to you as an employer.”
“At the Commission we provide a range of tools, guidance and tips to help employers take action on domestic abuse.”
“Domestic abuse is a human rights and a health and safety issue. All employers have a duty of care, regardless of their size or workforce.”
“By having an effective domestic abuse workplace policy in place, the private and public sector can demonstrate they take the welfare of their staff very seriously and that they are in place to demonstrate and ensure they are responsible employers.”
Wales' Social Justice Carl Sargeant said, "Domestic abuse can affect anyone, from the person you manage to the person who manages you. Both men and women can be victims and the tell-tale signs may not always be obvious. That’s why it is important that staff at all levels are equipped to recognise the signs and are aware of what to do should they suspect someone is a victim of abuse.
"This support can prove life changing for the victim and could be a first step to helping them out of harms way.
"Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for the Welsh Assembly Government. Over the last year we have funded a number of support centres across Wales, specifically to help victims deal with the consequences of abuse and support them as they rebuild their lives.
"In December I pledged an additional £2.5 million to support domestic abuse organisations, on top of the £4.3 million already spent in the last year. I am delighted that we have been able to further demonstrate our commitment to this important agenda by protecting the £4.4 million violence against women and domestic abuse budget for 2011/12."
Anyone suffering from domestic abuse is advised to call the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 for free, confidential advice 24 hours a day.
Besides holding the role of Wales Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Ann Beynon is currently BT Director of Wales and is their strategic and development representative for Wales.
Her career background includes a number of senior Business Development roles and she is currently Chair of the Wales Advisory Board for Business in the community.
Ann was awarded an OBE in 2008 and was the Prince of Wales’s Ambassador in the Community for Wales from 2005-2006.