East London council leads the way in confronting domestic abuse
Staff working for Barking and Dagenham Council who are experiencing domestic abuse will now get up to 10 days paid leave thanks to the introduction of a ground-breaking policy to address the issue.
Tackling domestic violence and abuse is a key priority for the council. It recently announced plans for a commission to explore local attitudes and perceptions to domestic abuse. Just under 40% of the Council’s workforce also live in the borough and so it is starting with its own workforce.
“We are proud to be the first council in the country to adopt this policy, as part of a whole system approach to tackling domestic violence and abuse."
Councillor Maureen Worby, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health Integration said: “We are proud to be the first council in the country to adopt this policy, as part of a whole system approach to tackling domestic violence and abuse.
“As the borough’s biggest employer, domestic abuse directly impacts our employees. We are fully committed to keeping our employees and residents safe: in the home, on the streets and in the workplace.
“Our policy for employees who are enduring, witnessing or using abusive behaviours has been reshaped to provide support to managers and colleagues so they can assist victims, and challenge and support alleged perpetrators to change.”
Nationally, one in four women and one in six to seven men will experience domestic abuse in their life time. Three in four of those victims will be targeted whilst at work, yet 90% of victims never tell their employer and only 5% of businesses have a policy in place for staff to access and seek support from.
The council is working closely with Hestia’s Everyone’s Business initiative to bring in specialist support and multi-level training to develop domestic abuse advocates in the workplace.
Barking and Dagenham Council now commits to 10 days (70 hours) paid leave for employees experiencing domestic abuse. The leave is available for victims who need assistance and support to escape the abuse, but also alleged perpetrators so they can seek help to change.
This crucial time will allow women and men to leave their abusive partners safely, get the help, protection and support they need knowing their livelihood is secure. It will also allow space for people questioning their own abusive behaviours to seek support to change in a safe way.