The Business Case for Why Domestic Abuse is a Workplace Issue
It may sound hardnosed to state that the effects of domestic abuse can be felt in the workplace in terms of financial output. To back that up with some figures, the results of a study conducted for Vodafone by KPMG in 2019 found that, “£316m in economic output is lost by UK businesses each year as a result of work absences related to domestic abuse”. Back in 2016/17 the estimated yearly cost in lost output per employee suffering domestic abuse in England and Wales was £7,245.
A few examples of this lost output might include decreased productivity, presenteeism, unplanned absence or poor timekeeping. It could ultimately result in the expense of going down the disciplinary route if important signs are missed and the real cause of such issues never uncovered. In a worst-case scenario it could include the costs to the organisation of losing a good employee and having to recruit and train their replacement.
On a wider scale, workplace morale can be affected. Take the example of colleagues regularly being asked to cover at short notice with no explanation. Added stress and feelings of unfairness can creep in with the resulting concerns to productivity and staff turnover. Colleagues and managers may also be affected emotionally.
Offering support to staff who are experiencing or who have experienced domestic abuse demonstrates good management practice and that an employer takes their duty of care to provide a safe and effective work environment seriously.
In the mental health debate, bringing our whole self to work is a key aim. If employees can share with others that their organisation authentically supports all their employees in what they bring to the workplace, a positive reputation will result which provides an attractive consideration for good employees in a competitive market.
If a member of staff or colleague confided they were suffering domestic abuse, would you know how to react?
A Government review of workplace support for victims of domestic abuse found that,
” … while many employers want their staff to thrive, line managers and HR professionals can lack the confidence to know what to do in relation to domestic abuse and may not be able to respond appropriately.”
This is totally understandable, and it is where training facilitated by a subject expert can prove to be an important first step to creating awareness and building confidence and knowledge of how to act.
As each organisation is unique, the exact training course delivered can be flexible in length and content so that the focus is correct. Consultancy around policy development is also an option either as a standalone service or in conjunction with training.
Bal Howard is an inspiring expert on domestic abuse and delivers both our training and consultancy on the subject. She regularly receives glowing reviews about the empathy and passion with which she engages learners, and perhaps more importantly inspires them to make a difference in their workplace.
“What a brilliant course that has taught me so much. You are a truly inspirational trainer – I have so much more hope for other victims now that we can help them.”
It is said that we all have a collective responsibility to tackle domestic violence, let’s not put off until tomorrow simple and low-cost actions in the workplace that we can take today.