Staffordshire businesses heard first-hand about a new programme to help workers who suffer abuse at home at a launch event at Drayton Manor Hotel today.
The workplace programme is part of ongoing efforts by Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis to offer better service and support for victims of domestic abuse.
It is being spearheaded by deputy PCC Sue Arnold and over 30 people attended the official launch at a breakfast event at Drayton Manor, near Tamworth, this morning.
A second event will be held at the Britannia Stadium, in Stoke on-Trent, on Wednesday 14 January for businesses from Stoke-on-Trent and north Staffordshire. Businesses can still register for the event now at http://www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/domestic-abuse/
The PCC is funding specialist training, delivered by Staffordshire Women’s Aid, for a nominated individual from each business that joins the programme.
Organisations who sign-up to the programme – at no cost to themselves – will commit to taking steps to support staff in abusive relationships and make sure victims are aware that help is available. Managers will be encouraged to spot tell-tale signs of abuse and give practical and confidential guidance to staff.
The British Crime survey found that there were an estimated 12.9 million incidents of domestic violence against women each year and 2.5 million against men. Meanwhile, such crime is estimated to cost the economy £23 billion a year – including £1.7 billion for employers alone.
Speakers at this morning’s launch event included Mrs Arnold, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Women’s Aid Dickie James and James Leavesley, group director of Alrewas-based company the Leavesley Group, one of the scheme’s early adopters.
Mrs Arnold said: “Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on victims and can affect the whole of their lives – including their work. Victims are likely to suffer in silence for a long time before talking to anyone about what they are going through.
“However, managers and colleagues at work may notice changes in their behaviour – such as problems with concentration, anxiety, dips in work quality, regularly arriving late or leaving early – which could signal abuse at home.
“Today’s launch event was a great opportunity for businesses to come and find out more about the high-quality training that Staffordshire Women’s Aid will offer. Over 30 people came this morning and an even bigger number have signed up to the launch event in Stoke-on-Trent on Wednesday.
“By signing up, businesses are going public with their commitment to tackling domestic abuse and show a clear commitment to supporting staff who are victims in a sensitive way.
“We are excited about the lifeline this will offer to victims who work in businesses across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”
Staffordshire Women’s Aid is an award-winning charity which has been supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence in Staffordshire since 1976. Through specialist support, the organisation empowers victims to change their lives and plan for safer, healthier and independent futures.
Dickie James said: “We are delighted and excited to be working with the PCC on such an innovative project. Enabling businesses and employers to better understand domestic abuse will make a really positive difference to victims and their children in Staffordshire. The project will ensure that those who are suffering from domestic abuse will be able to access information and support within the workplace to improve their safety at the earliest possible stage.”