Why Employers need a Domestic Violence Policy

Why Employers Need a Domestic Violency Policy? For UK Businesses


According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of domestic abuse related crimes registered with the police in England and Wales rose by 6% to a staggering 845,734 in the last year (March 2021–2022).

The number of callers to domestic abuse helplines also rose to 50,791. Insights to these calls show it is mainly females (86%), aged 31-39 (31%) and from a white ethnicity background (61%) who use the helpline.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate the number of DV victims annually in England and Wales is 1.9 million, with two women every week being killed by their abusers.

Therefore, as a responsible employer, it’s important to think about the offerings and process if you get concerned about an employee, or if an employee makes a disclosure of domestic violence to you. 

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is characterised in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 with behaviours such as:

  • Physical or sexual abuse;
  • Violent or threatening behaviour;
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour;
  • Economic abuse; or
  • Psychological, emotional or other abuse.

Why is domestic abuse an important issue for employers?

Employers have a reasonable duty of care for the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees. Staff suffering from domestic abuse at home falls squarely within this.

While domestic abuse directly affects the health and wellbeing of the employee experiencing the abuse, it can have knock-on consequences for their colleagues and the wider business too.

In fact, the current Home Office figures show that 75% of people who endure DV will be targeted in the workplace, around 58% of abused women will miss at least three days of work a month, and 2% will lose their jobs as a direct result. But regrettably less than 30% of employers know how to respond.

The potential impacts vary on the nature of the role however, could include the running of fundamental business operations and increased pressure on other members of the team.

Persistent high levels of absenteeism can lower the team’s morale and cause staff retention issues, which can lead to high staff turnover and an increase in recruitment costs.

In some workforces, absenteeism can affect an employee’s salary, how much income the company is able to generate and ultimately negatively affect the business’ finances

What are the red flags to look out for?

The impact of domestic abuse on an employee at work is significant. Employers may notice the following:

  • Unexplained injuries;
  • Withdrawing from interacting with colleagues at work;
  • Not attending work functions or events;
  • Increase in absences;
  • Changes in their demeanour and behaviour;
  • Becoming obsessed with timekeeping;
  • Not sharing or talking about their home life;
  • Increase in tiredness and fatigue at work;
  • Their partner hanging or stalking the employee around the workplace; or
  • Poor performance.

What you can do to help employees who may be experiencing domestic violence 

Here’s some ideas on what you can do:

  1. Have a clear policy on how your company should support employees suffering from domestic abuse.
  2. Provide relevant training for HR teams and line managers, so they can better recognise the signs that an employee may be experiencing domestic abuse.
  3. Provide a safe place for employees to feel comfortable to disclose their experiences.
  4. Have up to date information on where to signpost or refer employees to organisations that can help them, such as: Women’s Aid; Mankind (domestic abuse support for male victims); their GP; counselling services; the police; solicitors; housing support; and domestic abuse charities and helplines.
  5. Consider practical safety issues for the employee whilst at work, from special security measures to screening the employee’s phone calls and IT systems to prevent the perpetrator using these forms of communication to abuse the employee in the workplace.
  6. Remain flexible to alter the employees’ start time and finishing time and assess their workload, so that they do not feel overburdened during times of heightened emotional fragility. Additionally, provide reasonable adjustments to allow the employee to have time off to attend appointments with support organisations, their GP, solicitors or the Police.
  7. Encourage open discussions around domestic abuse issues.
  8. Be sensitive in your approach and allocate time and space to listen to what the employee is saying.
  9. Ensure the discussions that take place are kept confidential.

How to support employees who work from home?

Employers have a statutory duty to take reasonable care of the health and safety of their employees, whether working from the workplace or from home.

Employees working from home can make it harder for employers to identify domestic abuse.

Therefore, it is more important than ever for employers and their staff to receive sufficient training on how to stay alert to less obvious signals.

Your domestic abuse policy should apply to all employees, regardless of their place of work and emphasise that as their employers, you are there to care and support them whilst they are working from home.

Domestic abuse is a crime; it affects thousands of people in the UK each year. Employers are in a good position to provide support, care and help to employees who are victims of domestic abuse.

By providing effective policies, guidance and information, you can help your employees feel confident that they can seek further help and feel confident in your provision as an employer.

Why Bother with a Domestic Violence Policy? 🤷‍♀️

Because your workplace isn't just about deadlines and coffee runs; it's about people. And people, well, we carry our lives with us like backpacks filled with personal challenges. Domestic violence is unfortunately one of those challenges, and having a policy in place shows that your workplace cares about the well-being of its family – yes, I said family! 🏢❤️

Picture this: Your colleague, let's call them Alex, is facing domestic violence at home. They show up to work, carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Now, imagine if your workplace had a policy in place. Alex could reach out, confident that there's a safety net waiting.

Having a Domestic Violence Policy isn't just about ticking boxes. It's about creating a haven where everyone feels heard, supported, and safe. It's a powerful message that says, "We're in this together, and your well-being matters as much as your workload."

And here's a bonus – it's not just good for your team's mental health; it's also great for business. A supportive workplace leads to happier, more productive employees. It's a win-win, my friends! 🌟💼

What to include in your Domestic Violence Policy? 🚀

Now, let's talk action – the 'how.' 

The key things are to include what support you offer and all the helplines available. 

You could spend hours crafting the perfect Domestic Violence Policy from scratch, or you could save yourself the headache (and time!) by grabbing our ready-to-rock template. Seriously, it's like a golden ticket to a workplace that cares.

Domestic Violence Policy for UK businesses

Our template covers all the bases – from raising awareness about domestic violence to providing clear steps for reporting incidents. It's your one-stop-shop for creating an environment where everyone feels safe, supported, and ready to tackle the workday head-on.

So, what are you waiting for? Let's make your workplace a beacon of empathy and support for your current and future employees. 💪✨

In conclusion, folks, a Domestic Violence Policy isn't just a document; it's a promise. A promise that your workplace values its people beyond the spreadsheets and conference calls. ✨👊

Ready to take the plunge into workplace compassion? Snag our Domestic Violence Policy template now and make your workplace feel safer for everyone! 🌈🏢 

Helplines for employees suffering domestic violence:

If you or someone you know if experiencing domestic violence, please get help and reach out to the helplines below. 

  • Women can call The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge on 0808 2000 247 for free at any time, day or night. The staff will offer confidential, non-judgemental information and support
  • talk to a doctor, health visitor or midwife
  • men can call Men's Advice Line on 0808 8010 327 (Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm), or visit the webchat at Men's Advice Line (Wednesday 10am to 11.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm) for non-judgemental information and support
  • men can also call ManKind on 0182 3334 244 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)
  • if you identify as LGBT+ you can call Galop on 0800 999 5428 for emotional and practical support
  • anyone can call Karma Nirvana on 0800 5999 247 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) for forced marriage and honour crimes. You can also call 020 7008 0151 to speak to the GOV.UK Forced Marriage Unit
  • in an emergency, call 999


  • Book a free consultation with Mandy here, to learn more about us working together.

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