Posted on: 8 December 2023

On the fourteenth day of the White Ribbon Campaign, CNWL’s Human Resources and Occupational Health service prioritise their commitment to the prevention of domestic abuse.

Employers have an important role to play in society’s response to domestic abuse. They owe a duty of care to employees and have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment. Preventing and tackling domestic abuse is an integral part of this duty of care.

CNWL recognises that its employees will be amongst those affected by Domestic Abuse.

Given the prevalence in the wider population and the size of the NHS workforce it is inevitable that a significant number of CNWL employees will have experience of some form of abuse, past or current. It is further recognised that a number will be perpetrators.

An organisation’s response to Domestic Abuse begins with raising awareness and breaking down the stigma. This will help to create a supportive working environment that enables employees affected by Domestic Abuse to acknowledge to themselves, or to their employer, that their relationships are abusive or coercive and help prevent the escalation of such behaviour. There are a number of measures that can support this;

  • Raising the profile of Domestic Abuse through ongoing campaigning (posters/leaflets/communications)
  • Ensuring a clear message of Zero Tolerance of Domestic Abuse - inside or outside of the workplace
  • Reassurance that the employer wants to help and support employees in this situation

Any staff member may hear a disclosure of abuse and should be able to respond appropriately.

Employees may disclose to anyone in the organisation. They should feel reassured that there are individuals with whom they feel safe and to whom they can disclose. However, whilst any colleague may be approached, some staff may be more likely to receive a disclosure of Domestic Abuse. These might be;

  • Trust Safeguarding staff – Named Professionals for Safeguarding Children or Safeguarding Adult/Mental Capacity Act Specialists (see CNWL weekly news for listings).
  • Union representative
  • Domestic Abuse Team
  • Domestic Abuse Ambassador
  • Line manager/Supervisor
  • HR advisor/People at work
  • Occupational health

CNWL has specific guidelines on how to support staff impacted by Domestic Abuse.

In honour of the White Ribbon Campaign programme of events this year HR/Occupational Health services will be hosting a webinar around how to best manage disclosures of Domestic Abuse.