Guide

Workplace policy on domestic and sexual violence and abuse

Practical steps to support employees affected by domestic and sexual violence and abuse

There are a number of practical measures you can use to support employees affected by domestic and sexual violence and abuse:

  • divert phone calls and emails
  • alert reception and security staff if the abuser/alleged abuser is known to come to the workplace
  • allow more flexible working or special leave for practical arrangements (such as attending counselling or court)
  • check the employee has arrangements for safely getting to and from home and if possible provide a personal alarm
  • ensure the employee does not work alone or in an isolated area
  • move the employee out of public view, such as ensuring that they are not visible from reception points or ground floor windows
  • keep a record of any incidents of abuse in the workplace, including persistent telephone calls or emails 
  • if the employee is absent, a method of communication should be arranged with line managers so that they are aware that the individual is safe
  • offer a salary advance where, for example, the employee needs to escape a violent or abusive situation or where their own money is being withheld by an abusive partner
  • have a trained support officer in the workplace, if resources permit

Our guide on how to deal with stress offers advice on how to protect the well-being of employees.

It is important that employers rely on professionals to provide appropriate services. This could be specific training, support and advice or counselling services. See counselling and support for domestic and sexual violence and abuse for organisations who can help with advice, training and providing services. 

Perpetrators who are employees

Perpetrators of domestic abuse may use workplace resources such as phones and email to threaten or abuse someone. Employers should respond effectively to this behaviour to protect victims and the organisation’s reputation. 

Make clear that misconduct inside and outside of work will be taken seriously and result in disciplinary action. You have a responsibility to report criminal activity to the relevant authorities. See bullying and harassment and disciplinary procedures, hearings and appeals.