Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to unify those across the world who have been victims of domestic violence.
Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence and abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background, which is why raising awareness is so critical. With many of us spending more time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it's more vital than ever that we're able to recognise the signs of abusive behaviour and support those experiencing or at risk of abuse.
Domestic abuse may be physical, but it also encompasses a wide range of behaviours that ultimately seek to control and harm another person in the home. The current Covid-19 pandemic is a difficult and worrying time for everyone – but particularly so for those facing an increased risk of abuse and violence as they spend more time at home. Some people may be forced to self-isolate or may be working from home with an abusive partner or family member. Or they may not be getting out as much as they used to. More of their movement and communications may be monitored, making it harder for them to reach out and get the support they want or need. This period may also be difficult for survivors of domestic abuse who may feel isolated or anxious.
Domestic violence is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses people are under. Here we've collated some guidance about what support is available to people at risk, and information about where to get help if a colleague approaches you for advice.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. If you are not safe to speak, dial 999 and press 55 when prompted.
Support from the University
On our recently refreshed Domestic Abuse and Violence web pages you will find guidance and advice on how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and where to get help and support, both internal and external to the University.
Office space is now available on campus at 3 Solly Street which could provide some respite for those at risk when working from home. Please speak to your line manager to find out more about the space and the booking process.
Employers Initiative on Domestic Violence
We're proud to have joined the Employers Initiative on Domestic Violence (EIDA), a growing network of employers from a wide variety of sectors, working collectively to take action on domestic abuse.
One of EIDA’s key messages this month is to keep in touch with each other - something that’s already the heart of our wellbeing strategy, especially now we're all working differently and lots of people are not as visible as they were previously. It is important for managers to have regular check-ins with staff because sadly we know, from the experience across the nation of the lockdown earlier this year, that periods of working from home can often coincide with an increase of incidents of domestic abuse, and for those at risk the workplace is often the only safe space.
Access help and support
Coronavirus and domestic abuse
More information and guidance on coronavirus and domestic abuse can be found at gov.uk/domestic-abuse
The Refuge free 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline can be reached on 0808 2000 247. If your opportunity to safely make a call is limited then Refuge has a web form which can be used to request a call back from a member of the expert helpline team at a safe time.
National safe spaces campaign
UK SAYS NO MORE is working with Boots UK, Superdrug pharmacies, Morrisons pharmacies and independent pharmacies across the country to provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse. These Safe Spaces increase the opportunity for victims of domestic abuse to access specialist support, providing a space for them to phone a helpline, contact a support service or talk to a friend or family member.
24-hour staff helpline
You can contact the University's Staff Helpline and Counselling Service on 0800 028 1947. The service is free, independent, confidential and available 24 hours a day.
Report + Support
Staff and students can report and gain access to support about harassment, abuse, bullying, sexual violence and discrimination of any kind, using Report + Support. This is a secure online platform used by many organisations and universities.
Resources to support colleagues
Everyone’s Business Advice Line
Managers with questions, concerns or queries regarding domestic abuse, including how to support members of staff enduring, witnessing or perpetrating domestic abuse can now contact the Everyone’s Business Advice Line which is staffed by trained and qualified Independent Domestic Violence Advisors. You can contact the advice line on 07770480437 or email AdviceLine.EB@hestia.org
SafeLives has produced some guidance on how to support colleagues experiencing domestic abuse.