Domestic violence and abuse
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been an increase in domestic violence and abuse. It has also become more difficult for people to get away from the person abusing them (the 'perpetrator').
Employers have a legal duty of care to their employees and should:
- look out for signs of domestic abuse
- respond appropriately
- support someone who is experiencing domestic abuse
- keep a record of incidents at work and when employees report domestic abuse, and any actions taken
How an employer can help
Employers should make clear what support is available if an employee is experiencing domestic abuse, such as:
- finding a way to communicate safely, for example by text message if calls are not possible, or a different email address if their email is being monitored by the perpetrator
- agreeing on a code word or hand signal for someone to use to alert others that they're experiencing domestic abuse
- arranging another place they can do their work instead of at home
- being flexible around working hours
- time off, for example to attend support appointments
- helping the person get other appropriate support
Employers should consider having a domestic abuse policy. They should develop it in consultation with employees and any trade union or employee representatives.
The policy should set out:
- a clear commitment to taking the issue seriously
- common signs of domestic abuse
- the support available for employees and managers
All employees should be made aware of the policy and be able to access it.
Employers can download:
- managing and supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse on the CIPD website
- a domestic abuse toolkit for employers on the Business in the Community (BITC) website
Help and support
You can find more guidance on domestic abuse from GOV.UK.
People experiencing or perpetrating domestic abuse can contact organisations including:
- Refuge – national domestic abuse charity, also provides a 24-hour helpline
- Women's Aid – domestic abuse support for women and children
- Respect – provides help for perpetrators
- Galop – LGBT+ anti-violence charity
The Bright Sky app is for anyone who's experiencing domestic abuse or is worried about someone else.
Employers can get advice from:
- Hestia – Respond to Abuse app and advice line
- Employers' Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) – including a COVID-19 employer pack
More about working from home and hybrid working
We have further detailed advice on:
- having a policy
- how staff are managed