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Business Minister Paul Scully has just announced that the government will be examining how both employers and the government can improve their support of those within the workforce suffering from domestic abuse. 

Why the workplace?

For a great many sufferers, domestic abuse will see someone else take control over who they speak to and where they spend time: their working hours and workplace may be the only opportunity they have to escape close supervision and to speak freely. Often a victim finds that the workplace is their only escape from their abuser   

A great many sufferers experience financial control and the government recognises this could be tackled by diverting salary to a different bank account beyond the abuser’s control or emergency payments for those in serious hardship because of abuse.

Diverse channels of support and awareness

Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs supported the review, saying:

‘We all have a part to play in identifying and responding to domestic abuse, and when done effectively and sensitively employers can play a pivotal role in supporting survivors to rebuild their lives.’

This echoes previous government initiatives which have sought to involve pharmacies and hairdressers in tackling domestic abuse as well as more traditional channels such as health visitors, GPs, social workers and lawyers.

The ‘Safe Place’ scheme set up by Women’s Aid trains hairdressers, barbers and beauticians to spot the signs of domestic abuse, then provide information and a safe space in which their client can call for further help. 

In May 2020, Boots announced that its pharmacies would join the ‘Safe Place’ scheme too, with their individual consultation rooms being open to victims of domestic abuse to use as a safe venue to seek help from.  This has been more crucial than ever, with domestic abuse rates surging during the Covid-19 lockdown and access to help limited by the government restrictions on free movement in society. 

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, a solicitor can help you by signposting agencies that can be contacted and advising on the legal protections that can be put in place to support victims and their children.  If you require advice in this area, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of my colleagues at The International Family Law Group LLP for a confidential consultation. 

Megan Bennie
The International Family Law Group LLP
© June 2020