Simpson Millar says NO to Domestic Violence

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Simpson Millar's Family Law Team is now actively involved in a number of projects to raise awareness about Domestic Violence. Emma Pearmaine, Partner and Head of Simpson Millar’s Family Law Department is an Ambassador for the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence UK (“CAADV”). CAADV is dedicated to reducing domestic abuse and violence by working in partnership with employers to provide support and advice to employees. With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men affected by domestic violence during their adult lives, every workplace up and down the country is touched by this issue. Employers have an opportunity to take simple, low cost steps to work with their employees and help reduce Domestic Violence. With the cost of domestic violence and abuse costing UK businesses around £1.9 billion per annum, it is everyone’s business!

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Simpson Millar got involved when Emma and her Family Law Team prepared a briefing paper in advance of the last Labour Party Conference. Emma and her colleagues represent many victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, and the briefing paper highlighted all their concerns about current legal provision and future law changes which could affect Simpson Millar's clients. Baroness Scotland (our former Attorney General) read this paper and suggested to Simpson Millar that we might have lots to offer the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV). Emma and Jane Latimer, also a Simpson Millar Partner, attended a CAADV breakfast at the House of Lords in October 2011. Present at this event were a number of Ministers, MPs, CEO’s and Executives from some of the UK’s biggest employers, including Royal Mail, BT, Gas & Oil Companies and Government Agencies. The purpose of this breakfast was to raise awareness of the need to implement domestic violence initiatives in the workplace, with a view first and foremost to reducing the number of victims of domestic violence in the UK, but also to address the needs of victims and perpetrators and to ensure that employers are able to meet those needs.

The Family Law Team gave some thought as to whether or not Simpson Millar could help the Corporate Alliance with their domestic violence initiative.

As a result, the Team has now pledged support to CAADV and will be offering training courses to all HR members of staff for CAADV Members. This means that big companies, such as eg, Royal Mail or BT could become members of CAADV and initiate Domestic Violence policies. They could send their HR staff members on a training course to learn about how to recognise victims of domestic violence, address their specific needs in the workplace and also refer them for specific legal advice. It is hoped that many big companies will sign up to the initiative, and Simpson Millar are working with CAADV to put on the pressure.

Emma says, "This is a ground breaking initiative, and I am proud to have been invited to be an Ambassador for CAADV. I receive daily enquiries from both victims and perpetrators of Domestic Violence, and both are in need of specialist advice and support. Most victims and perpetrators worry about their employers finding out about their domestic problem because they think they might be victimised at work. However, if their employers don't know and can't give proper support it is difficult for me to do my job effectively because they might need time off work to attend court, or need flexible working to address urgent children issues. An effective employers' domestic violence policy could make all the difference."

The Simpson Millar Family Law Team's campaigning does not stop there…… Emma and her team are also members of the multi-party Family Court Unions Group, which meets at Westminster and is an instrumental parliamentary lobbying Group, chaired by Elffen Lywed MP and Baroness Gibson and greatly supported by NAPO, whose members include CAFCASS (Family Court Welfare Officers). Emma Pearmaine and Emma Hopkins have jointly submitted papers to this Group and are providing information and support in respect of current family law and legal aid issues.

Emma says, "We are thinking beyond the delivery of family law and beginning to question the making of family law policies at government level......because this is the only way we can ensure we can meet our client's needs both now and in the future."

"We are working hard to deliver quality and effective service to current clients, but also campaigning hard to retain access to justice for future clients."


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