Domestic Abuse Business Support (DABS) is passionate about supporting all victims of domestic abuse in the workplace, regardless of gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity.
Why is this important?
It's important because domestic abuse knows no boundaries. Domestic abuse can and does affect anyone. It is illegal and frankly inhuman, to treat a victim differently because of their gender, race or sexual orientation, all of which, are "protected categories" under U.K. law.
Why am I so passionate about this subject?
Because I was targeted at work by my abuser. I know how it feels, to never be able to escape your abuse, even at the one place where you should be able to.
I had a break down at work because of my abuse. My employer and my managers, had no idea how to respond. As a result, I was left to deal with the abuse, unsupported and alone. This resulted in an extended period of sick leave and pushed me to the brink of suicide.
As the Director of DABS, my aim is to do all that I can, to ensure that nobody else, ever has to go through what I went through at work. As a former Police Officer, Soldier, Security Professional and survivor, I am well placed to achieve my aims and the aims of DABS.
So, what prompted me to write this article?
There are several charities and organisations offering domestic abuse support to businesses but every single one of them (that I have seen) excludes male employees from the conversation.
Today I came across a, "domestic abuse in the workplace guide" produced by the Equality And Human Rights Commission. It offers some very good advice - to women!
In fact, not only does it exclude men, it down plays male victims experiences. These are the very people entrusted with promoting equality and upholding the law, yet here they are, doing quite the opposite. This is clearly unacceptable and i wanted to highlight their lack of "equality."
You can view the guide here.
Let’s be clear about the Commissions role.
Who are The Equality and Human Rights Commission?
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a non-departmental public body in England and Wales, established by the Equality Act 2006 with effect from 1 October 2007. The Commission has responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales.
I think their role is clearly defined but just to be sure, let’s break it down further:
The definition of "equality" is:
The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.
The definition of "human rights" is:
human rights (plural noun)
A right which is believed to belong to every person.
Definition of Discrimination According to The Equality Act 2010 is:
The Equality Act 2010 explicitly states that it is against the law to treat any person unfairly or less favourably than someone else because of a personal characteristic. The personal characteristics that are mentioned in the Act include age, sex, race, religion, pregnancy and maternity, disability and sexual orientation. These are called ‘protected characteristics.
Under the terms of the Act, you are protected from discrimination in these situations/environments:
In any educational institution
When using any public services.
As a consumer.
When buying or renting property.
As a member or guest of a private club or association.
Understanding Discrimination in The Workplace
Both men and women are protected under the Equality Act 2010, which means it is against the law for employers to have different rules for male and female employees or job applicants. Practices such as drawing up all-female or all-male shortlists or offering different salaries, training or promotion avenues for men and women are considered unlawful practices.
The Office of National Statistics, Labour market overview, UK: December 2019 - estimated that the employment rate for men in the U.K. was 80.4%.
That’s 15,895,800 employed men in the U.K.
The estimated employment rate for women was 72.0%.
That’s 14,220,800 employed women in the U.K.
In 2013 the TUC conducted a survey to find out more about how domestic violence affects working lives and the role that employers, colleagues and union reps can play in supporting those experiencing domestic abuse.
The TUC survey was open to anyone who had either experienced domestic violence themselves, or had a friend or colleague who had experienced domestic violence. Although the survey uses the word "violence" it also included other forms of abuse.
The survey was completed by 3,423 people.
2738.4 were women.
684.6 were men.
In the year ending March 2019,1.6 million women and 786.000 men, reported being victims of domestic abuse.
Whilst women make up the majority of domestic abuse victims (See ONS stats) men make up the majority workforce and male victims of domestic abuse would fill almost nine Wembley Stadiums. How big does the number have to be, before we see male victims of domestic abuse, treated equally in the workplace?
Remember, even if your employees don't identify as being sufferers or survivors of domestic abuse, it's important that they learn to recognise the signs. This is because an incredible 90.8% of workers said that their domestic abuse, caused conflict and tension with their
co-workers. And even worse than that, 25% of abuse victims co-workers are directly affected and reported being harmed and/or threatened.
Workplace training, education and support, must involve men. Men are not just perpetrators, they are victims, managers, business owners, doctors, dentists, carers, Police Officers and potential life savers. If we involve men in the conversation, and offer the same support to male and female employees, we increase our global understanding of the issue and we have more people who can recognise abuse in others and in themselves.
I would be interested to hear your views. Thanks for reading.
For more information on a DABS training day, please visit: DABS TRAINING