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Assembly sets pace on supporting staff that experience domestic abuse

21 June 2010

The National Assembly for Wales will today (21 June) launch a domestic abuse policy for staff utilising the guidance issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales.

The policy developed by the Assembly’s Human Resources and Equality and Access teams aims to provide a network of support for employees who are of domestic abuse.

It will help employees recognise the signs of domestic abuse, highlight the help and support that is available to them and provide links to support groups. The policy is universal in that it recognises that although the majority of victims are women, anyone can suffer domestic abuse.

At the launch, domestic abuse survivor and Welsh Government employee Denise Puckett, who assisted in the policy’s formulation, will address staff about the importance of a domestic abuse policy and how having a supportive employer was important to her.

“The development of this policy marks an important step for the National Assembly for Wales,” said Lorraine Barrett AM, Assembly Commissioner for the Sustainable Assembly.

“Last month the National Assembly became the first legislative body in the UK to be awarded the Investors in People Gold Standard Award - testament to its commitment to valuing its employees.

“The development of a domestic abuse policy for staff is another example of the Assembly ensuring that employees are given the best possible support in the workplace.

“We are delighted that the Equality and Human Rights Commission is using this policy and we hope that it encourages other organisations to adopt similar policies.”

Kate Bennett, Director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales added: “This is very welcome news. We are encouraging all employers in Wales to take action like this so that staff can retain their jobs and feel safe and supported in the workplace.

“Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and an issue for all workplaces. One in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and every week at least two women are killed by violent partners or ex-partners.

“It’s about employers taking small steps that will make a big difference to the lives of their staff. Implementing a domestic abuse workplace policy will not only reduce sickness absence and save money but, more importantly, it will save lives.”

Research shows that:

- 75% of women that experience domestic abuse are targeted at work – from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced, to physical assaults

- Domestic abuse currently costs UK businesses over £2.7 billion a year

- In the UK, in any one year, more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence, and 2% lose their jobs as a direct result of the abuse

(Statistics provided by the Equality and Human Rights Commission)

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