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I'm worried my employee is suffering domestic abuse

The workplace can be a lifeline for someone experiencing abuse and may provide a safe place to seek help. Supporting employees who are affected by domestic abuse to remain in work can support their wellbeing in the long term.

Middlesbrough Council has developed a domestic abuse workplace policy and your workplace may have done the same. This will provide both practical and legal guidance to you as an employer.

Signs

Signs that an employee might be experiencing domestic abuse include:

  • unexplained injuries
  • decreased productivity
  • frequent lateness or absence
  • changes in behaviour

If the employee is in immediate danger, ring 999.

Do

Understand that it can be difficult for someone to admit that they're suffering from domestic abuse, and that your support is important.

  • Be sensitive, discrete, and supportive
  • Prioritise the employee's safety
  • Allocate some private time and space to listen to them

Don't

  • Seek proof of the abuse
  • Contact the alleged abuser
  • Try to compel a victim to seek support
  • Adopt the role of support worker – seek advice from specialist domestic abuse services, and refer the employee to them if you have their consent

Resources

Domestic abuse toolkit for employers

Safe Lives charity: practical guidance on responding to colleagues experiencing domestic abuse