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‘Sign up and show you mean business about doing something to stop abuse in the home’

August 2, 2014

vaw1 - CopyTHE workplace is being targeted as a new “refuge of hope” for people who suffer abuse at home.

Work colleagues can become an extra pair of eyes and ears – watching out for tell-tale signs and noticing any changes in victims’ behaviour.

Now businesses across Staffordshire will soon be able to sign-up to a new programme that offers a lifeline to workers who are victims of domestic ill-treatment in any guise.

As deputy police and crime commissioner for Staffordshire, I am spearheading the scheme which is being officially launched this autumn.

Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on victims and can affect the whole of their lives – including their work.

Victims are likely to suffer in silence for a long time before talking to anyone about what they are going through.

However, managers and colleagues at work may notice changes in their behaviour – such as problems with concentration, anxiety, dips in work quality, regularly arriving late or leaving early – which could signal abuse at home.

By signing up, businesses will go public with their commitment to tackling domestic abuse and show a clear commitment to supporting staff who are victims in a sensitive way.

We’ve made it as easy as possible for businesses to get involved by researching and writing the programme and will also provide training.

We are excited about the life-line this will offer to victims in businesses across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

I have met with Jane Gratton, deputy CEO of Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce; James Leavesley, group director of Leavesley International; and Stuart McIntosh, of Lichfield firm McIntosh Law, to outline the programme.

Organisations who sign-up to the scheme – at no cost to themselves – will commit to taking steps to support staff in abusive relationships and make sure victims are aware that help is available.

Managers will be encouraged to spot tell-tale signs of abuse and give practical and confidential guidance to staff. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will fund specialist training for a nominated individual from each business that signs up.

Businesses throughout Staffordshire will be invited to the scheme’s launch or can email me at sue.arnold@staffordshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk to express an interest.

Firms are also to benefit from the new Business Crime Matters strategy which is also being delivered by me to beat business crime and help promote economic growth. For more details see http://www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/business/

Meanwhile Staffordshire Police is offering more protection to victims of domestic abuse than ever before – thanks to new powers.

Since the Domestic Violence Protection Orders were introduced in June, the force has made a number of applications to ensure that victims of domestic violence can be supported even if they feel unable to come forward.

Domestic Violence Protection Notices and court-issued Domestic Violence Protection Orders allow officers to act fast to protect victims following an incident.

FACTFILE: THE SHOCKING EFFECTS BEHIND THE STATS

  • Domestic abuse is a crime that affects all areas of society – not  limited to any particular race, faith or social group.
  • It has a devastating effect on those who suffer it – but unlike many other victims of crime, those who are victims of domestic abuse feel unable to share their experience, often out of fear or guilt.
  • This means that the reported levels of domestic abuse are a significant under-representation of the reality.
  • Despite this fact the reported levels are still shocking and unacceptable . . .
  • According the Crime Survey of England & Wales, SEVEN per cent of women and FIVE per cent of men were estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in the 2011/12, equivalent to an estimated 1.2 million female and 800,000 male victims.
  • Across Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent  alone there are, on average, 58 reports of domestic abuse incidents every single day, with many more that are never reported. That’s more than 21,000 a year.
  • The victim impact is much wider, as other members of the family will also suffer as a result of the abuse.

 

 

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