Any employer will have some people who have faced or are facing domestic abuse, says Elizabeth Filkin CBE.

Employers, including the BBC, the Armed Forces, Vodafone and the Metropolitan Police, will discuss how they have helped victims of domestic abuse in the first UK conference to tackle the issue.

Speakers at the conference on 29 November at BBC Broadcasting House will include Lord Hall, Director General, BBC; Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, Chief of Defence People; and Helen Lamprell, External and Corporate Affairs Director, Vodafone UK.

At the conference, organised by the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, conference attendees will also hear from Ipsos MORI, which will reveal new research on domestic abuse showing the scale of the issue.

Leading employers will discuss practical steps they are taking and victims of domestic abuse, who have benefitted from support offered through the workplace, will also be speaking.

Other speakers will include scriptwriters and actors, including Oli Kent, Head of Continuing Drama Series at the BBC, who will discuss the dramatisation of domestic abuse.

There will also be an announcement of details for a new employer toolkit produced by Public Health England and Business in the Community which will be launched in 2018.

Launched in November 2016, The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse has already attracted more than 170 members, including Bank of America, Chelsea FC, CBI, EY, GWR, Handpicked Hotels, HM Army, House of Commons, IoD, Lloyd’s Bank, Lloyds of London, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. A full list of members can be found here.

Member organisations come together to exchange information about best practice, and to encourage, promote and develop action to help staff who are enduring domestic abuse, or who are perpetrators. Network meetings are once a quarter at a central London venue on topics suggested by member employers.

Building on the work of the Vodafone Foundation’s TecSOS project, the House of Commons, as an employer, has taken a key role through its HR Department in supporting the initiative, which has a steering group chaired by Elizabeth Filkin CBE.

“One in four women, and one in six men, will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime – ranging from coercive control to murder,” says Filkin. “Any employer will have some people who have faced or are facing domestic abuse, either as victims, witnesses or perpetrators. Many employers find that domestic abuse reduces performance at work, increases absenteeism and may lead to mental illness.

“When employers demonstrate that they are aware of domestic abuse, and make staff aware of the services that are available, this can help to reduce the wall of silence about domestic abuse that prevents many from seeking help.

“Many employers’ leaders are already taking action in their organisations, for example: developing policies on domestic abuse; raising awareness among employees; training senior staff, managers and ambassadors on how to identify those who may need help; sharing best practice with other employers; and offering direct help to staff or signposting them to where it can be found.”

Wellbeing Focus Week 2015Employers with any questions about the initiative, or who would like to join, should fill in the form at https://eida.org.uk/contact/.