Supporting workers who are enduring domestic abuse
Wednesday 25 November marks the start of “16 Days of Action against Violence Against Women and Girls”. This annual campaign is an opportunity for employers to raise awareness of domestic abuse and promote support services that are available to victims and survivors. The City of London’s Domestic Abuse Lead and Vulnerable Victims Advocate – Ayesha Fordham – shares some insights.
“We are living through extraordinary times and it is important now more than ever that victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse are able to access the support they need. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations offering domestic abuse support have continued to provide this support to victims and survivors.
This post outlines information about the types of support available and how to access it. Please use the campaign to raise awareness among your colleagues and workforce, including those leading on staff health and wellbeing.
City workers, even if they are working from home, are still able to access free specialist domestic and sexual abuse support services made available by the City of London Corporation through the City’s Vulnerable Victims Advocate. This includes safety planning, risk assessments, support letters, referral to counselling, liaising with the police, and more. Some of this support can be accessed over the phone and includes emotional support, providing individuals with a safe space to talk about how they are feeling and how the crime has affected them. To speak to a support worker confidentially please contact Ayesha Fordham at the City Corporation on 0794 463 4946 or Ayesha.Fordham@cityoflondon.gov.uk
In addition, the domestic abuse team at the City Corporation is offering free virtual domestic abuse training to businesses. The training can be tailored to meet the needs of the organisation. The training aims to prepare managers and employees with the tools and knowledge to effectively respond to a colleague who is experiencing domestic abuse. For more information please contact Ayesha.Fordham@cityoflondon.gov.uk
There are also a range of support services available to managers, colleagues and friends who have concerns for another individual and would like advice. This can be accessed anonymously and in confidence. Details of support services can be found at the end of this article.
Other useful resources for employers:
- Hestia’s “Everyone’s Business” Advice Line: Domestic abuse charity Hestia provides an advice line for businesses supporting employees who are experiencing or who are at risk of domestic abuse. Open Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm. Find out more on Hestia’s website, by calling 0777 0480 437, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- The City of London Police, in partnership with Victim Support and the City Corporation’s Safer City Partnership, have developed a practical “Spotting the Signs” booklet for employers, which includes advice on how to support employees affected by domestic abuse.
Support services for individuals:
- The City of London Vulnerable Victims Advocate (for specialist domestic and sexual abuse support)- please contact Ayesha on 0794 463 4946 or email@example.com
- For support outside of working hours please call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247, or the 24-hour Victim Supportline on 0808 16 89 111.
- Women’s Aid have webchats available Monday-Friday between 10am-12pm at: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/
- Victim Support
- For women and children: Refuge and Women’s Aid
- For LGBT+ people: Galop
- For men: Respect
- For women requiring support in alternative languages (including Farsi, Italian, Portuguese and more): Asian Women’s Resource Centre
- For men who are abusive towards a partner or ex-partner: The Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) helps men to change their behaviour and have safer, healthier relationships, by facing up to domestic violence. DVIP can help any man – no matter his age, background, race or religion – who wants to end his abusive behaviour towards his partner or ex-partner.
- For City workers seeking impartial and confidential advice on a range of issues, including finance and debt, paying bills, family issues, accessing welfare support and more: City Advice service
In an emergency please call 999. If you are unable to speak, you can press 55, tap or make a noise, such as a cough, to be transferred to a police call handler. If you cannot make any type of noise there is still “Silent Solution” support available to ensure you get the help you need.“