According to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, roughly 1.2 million and 713,000 men experienced domestic violence (DV) in the year ending March 2017 (a total of 1.9 million). The police recorded 1.1 million DV-related crimes during the same period; the 800,000 gap shows the very hidden nature of this issue.
There are different kinds of DV:
- Emotional and psychological
- Threats and intimidation
Fundamentally, however, it's always about one person having power and control over another. This can include the dynamic between couples, between family members and adolescents to their parents. Anyone can be affected, no matter their gender, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, religion, or sexuality.
Domestic violence also includes forms of stalking, such as waiting or loitering around the workplace.
According to the Home Office, three-quarters of people who endure domestic violence will be targeted in their workplace. While some can find work a safe haven, for many, the fixed location of their workplace can make them an easy target for their abuser. Those who are enduring domestic abuse may go under the radar. They may take time off work as a result, and all the while, the employer believes it is a performance issue and is none the wiser. This can lead to job loss in many cases, which can exacerbate the individual's situation.
The aim of "16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence" is to engage businesses around the subject and to support them to take action against this silent epidemic.
As mentioned on the 16 Days of Action website
, which is supported by Public Health England, employers have a legal obligation to assess dynamic risk and support the health, safety and wellness of their employees - this includes when employees are working from home, or locations other than the office. Companies may also be held liable if an abusive individual is using company resources (such as IT or vehicles) to target their victim.
Companies can help their employees who endure domestic violence, to train those who witness it and to protect staff as a whole, with the goal of securing safety and mitigating financial loss.
There is free support available to City employers and their staff to tackle domestic violence. Recently, the City of London Police and the City's Vulnerable Victims Advocate, have produced a business guide on spotting the signs and supporting employees affected by domestic abuse
. The City of London Corporation and City of London Police commission a Vulnerable Victims Advocate (VVA). The VVA works with the City Police and other local support organisations to provide a free, confidential and independent service for those who work or live in the City, who are enduring domestic violence or hate crime. The VVA provides practical support and signposting on a one-to-one basis, but can also work with groups, where appropriate. She has access to a number of outreach sites across the Square Mile and can meet individuals at a location that is convenient and safe for them. The City's VVA, Ayesha Fordham, can be contacted in confidence on 07944 634946.
Public Health England and Business in the Community have also published a toolkit
for employers on domestic abuse and there is Government guidance
for those who are enduring domestic violence, those who want to support someone, or for those who think they may be an abuser.