The Corporate Alliance Unveils New ‘It’s Our Business Campaign’


As Research Reveals the True Cost of Domestic Violence in the Workplace

The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (The Corporate Alliance) today reveals significant new research which illustrates the need for employer response to domestic violence. Conducted by ComRes, the research builds on the case of cost to business in the UK (£1.9 annually) and for employers throughout the UK to be part of the solution and take part in the 16 Days of Action, which commences today on International Elimination of Domestic Violence Day. Baroness Scotland, Patron of the Corporate Alliance shared, ‘The importance of the research is that it is the first of its kind in the UK looking at the response of employers and their appetite to be part of the holistic response to domestic violence. The importance of the findings illustrate that employers want to be part of the solution and understand that it is part of ‘Our Business’.

Corporate Alliance Against Domestic ViolenceResearch conducted by ComRes and commissioned by the Corporate Alliance found that:

  • On the whole, HR decision makers in Britain appear to be ‘on-message’
    • The overwhelming majority of HR decision makers (92%) agree that employers have a duty of care towards any of their employees who suffer from domestic violence.
    • Three in four (78%) HR decision makers state that it is important for employers to take an active role in reducing the economic and business cost of domestic violence.
    • HR decision makers think that domestic violence can and does have a negative impact on their business – in particular on absenteeism (three quarters - 74% - say that it has at least a small impact), productivity (70% say that it has at least a small impact) and staff morale (69% say that it has at least a small impact).
  • However, it would appear that tackling domestic violence and its impact in the workplace is not currently a high priority for UK businesses and companies.
    • Less than one in five (18%) HR decision makers say that domestic violence is a high priority for their organisation.
    • Interestingly, more than half (58%) of HR decision makers say that bullying and harassment is a high priority for their organisation.
    • This strongly suggests that HR decision makers are not currently making the link between bullying and harassment and domestic violence.

Baroness Scotland continued: "The Public Health Responsibility Deal Pledge on Domestic Violence, developed by Dame Carol Black, has helped employers understand the issue of domestic violence in the workplace. The Corporate Alliance works with employers throughout the UK to provide employers with business appropriate consultancy, services and toolkits which make a difference."

Further sited in the ComRes research:

  • Encouragingly for the Corporate Alliance, almost three quarters (72%) of people agree that if an employer were to have a programme of support in place for employees who are victims of domestic violence, it would improve their attitude towards that employer.

Over 75% of people who endure violence are targeted at work with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are directly affected by Domestic Violence throughout their adult lifetime. Over half (56%) of abused women arrive late for work at least five times in a month and 58% miss at least three days of work a month. The human toll is compounded for employers by impacting productivity, increased absenteeism and employee retention. Employers also have a duty of care that they are required to meet when ensuring employees are physically and emotionally safe at work.

On back of the research, The Alliance is calling on UK businesses to put the issue at the top of the agenda and back the new ‘It’s Our Business’ campaign, to galvanise employers to become part of the holistic response to domestic violence.

Melissa Morbeck, executive director of The Corporate Alliance, commented: “Currently, the Domestic Violence issue is seen by the business community as a personal matter. In reality, 80% of employers believe in addressing the general wellness needs of their employees. The research showed that most employers simply don’t recognise the problem and feel under qualified to act if they do. Companies such as BP, Wragge and Co, Norton Rose Fulbright, Milbank, British Airways, Public Health England and the Department of Health have taken a stand working with the Corporate Alliance to work with front line practitioners offering their staff, whether people who endure, perpetrate or witness domestic violence.

Domestic Violence is a silent epidemic that with the right support and service referrals, people who endure and witness will come forward and often self-disclose. Workplaces are often the one place people feel safe, and employers can take simple proactive steps to work alongside their staff. Just as in the case of mental health awareness, domestic violence can and should be a taboo we address together with our third sector partners and government strategies.

“Our ground-breaking research has brought to the forefront the extent to which domestic violence has a direct impact in the workplace. Many businesses don’t realise there is a legal requirement to act and with over 75% of abuse victims being targeted in the workplace whether in person, online or by phone, it is vital proper strategies and business responses are in place to ensure the safety of employees. It really is all our business and together the level of practical support and advice will empower employers and ultimately save lives.”

The Corporate Alliance and Baroness Scotland (Patron) are hosting a conference on the impact of domestic violence in the workplace on 2 December 2013 which highlights the research and includes the work of the Public Health Responsibility Deal Pledge on Domestic Violence and several key business leaders who are members of the Corporate Alliance. 43 organisations have already signed up to the scheme to take positive action and address the impact of Domestic Violence on the physical, mental and financial health of their employees.

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