National lead for domestic abuse welcomes pledge to help Norfolk employees get help and support
Nearly 25,000 employees will benefit from a special pledge signed by employers to help victims of domestic abuse in Norfolk.
The HEAR* campaign was launched by Norfolk’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Group (DASVG) in November 2020.
Since then 39 companies, representing 24,426 employees, have pledged to play their part by making simple changes to policy to break the silence around domestic abuse and HEAR, help and provide support to their staff on this important issue.
With the initiative now winning national backing from the country’s Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs, it is hoped many more organisations will sign up and make a difference to victims in Norfolk and across the country.
DA Commissioner Nicole Jacobs, said: "We have seen during lockdown how incredibly difficult it has been for some victims to access help when they have been locked down with an abuser so it's important for everyone to be aware. This is certainly true when it comes to employers.
"I welcome the HEAR campaign in Norfolk and it's great to see that 39 companies have already signed up to support domestic abuse victims and I hope more will follow their lead.
"I am calling for an amendment in the Domestic Abuse Bill which would put an onus on employers to provide support as well as paid leave."
Nicole Jacobs' support comes during national No More Week which aims 'to inspire everyone to make change to help create a culture of safety, equality, and respect in our communities' and say No More to Domestic Abuse.
The DASVG, which involves councils, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN), police and health organisations, launched the HEAR campaign for White Ribbon Day on 25 November 2020 and the 16 Days Against Domestic Abuse that follow.
With companies and employers having an important role to play in helping to prevent domestic abuse where it impacts on the workplace – whether someone is working at home or in the office – it is crucial HEAR continues every day of the year.
Gavin Thompson Chair of the DASVG and Director of Policy, Commissioning and Communications at the OPCCN, said: “It is really encouraging so many organisations have already signed up to the HEAR pledge to ensure the right support is in place for those who may be suffering from such abuse.
“We wholly welcome Nicole Jacobs’ support with this campaign we must all work together to prevent abuse and make sure our communities and homes are safe for everyone 365 days of the year.
“If your organisation has not already done so, please sign the HEAR pledge - one simple action could really make a huge difference.”
*HEAR stands for Help, Educate, Awareness and Respond, with organisations being asked to pledge to:
Every employer has a duty to provide access to organisations who can help employees: We will ensure colleagues affected by domestic abuse are given access to the right specialist support.
Every employer should ensure the right training is provided: We will make sure the right training is provided to staff to know what steps to take to support colleagues.
Every employer has a responsibility to be aware of domestic abuse: We will not tolerate domestic abuse in any form and will provide a supportive workplace for colleagues who experience such abuse.
Every employer should ensure the right policies are in place to respond to domestic abuse: We will review our policies and processes and ensure they are implemented correctly.
Around 20 percent of Norfolk public sector employees and two percent of private, not-for-profit (NFP), voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector employees, are so far covered by the pledge.
Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Police, Norwich City Council, the James Paget Hospital, Norwich City Football Club and Broadland District and South Norfolk Councils are among the bigger organisations to take part.
However, many smaller companies have seen the importance of HEAR from a range of sectors including supermarkets, recruitment agencies, event organisers and sports clubs.
On signing the pledge, a campaign toolkit is available for employers to download with information on help and support for staff, guidance on drafting policy about domestic abuse, internal communications and a campaign poster.