Video: 'It's our business'
‘It’s our business’ tells the story of a domestic abuse survivor. This real life experience demonstrates how vital a domestic abuse policy is in enabling those experiencing domestic abuse to safely access services and information that can ultimately save their lives.
IT'S OUR BUSINESS
It takes a hell of a lot of courage
to be able to say,
"Somebody actually did this to me."
"I haven't walked into a door.
I didn't fall down the stairs."
all of these different excuses
that I'd had to
come up with previously.
And I'd been dropping hints for ages
'cause I couldn't just come out
and say it.
And I knew that we'd had
a work-based policy developed,
but they kept putting
all the posters up in the corridors,
and I didn't want to stand in
a corridor and take the numbers down.
Being a senior manager
and head of equality,
there's a kind of sort of reputation
that goes with it,
and I probably know
a lot more about domestic abuse
than many other people.
And I just went in
and I just told my boss, and I said,
"Look, I've been through
a hell of a lot at the moment."
He looked at me with pity
and I just said, "Don't pity me."
"I've had enough."
He was very supportive.
We changed my telephone number
because I was getting bombarded with
telephone calls every five minutes.
We spoke to my team.
I think it was hard for them,
they should have seen it.
And I was very quick to say,
"It's not your fault."
"I've just become
very good at hiding it."
I knew that they had private parking
underneath the building
and I said, "I want a welfare space."
Because I knew, through my job,
that when somebody leaves,
that is one of
the most dangerous points ever.
So we organised a parking space.
I changed my working hours slightly.
A lot of people assume that
if you're a victim of domestic abuse
that you're always off sick,
that you never go into work
and that it costs the employer
in that way.
But, actually, I was always in work.
I never took my annual leave.
If I was sick, I still went to work,
because going to work
was better than being at home.
The weekends weren't safe.
The evenings weren't safe.
Four o'clock in the morning
The only safe hours I had were the
seven and a half hours I had in work.
There's a lot of taboo
with domestic violence
people do have accidents.
But I think
there are some tell-tale signs,
so things like, yeah, somebody
might be off a lot with sick leave.
But, actually, on the converse,
if somebody's never off,
never ever taken annual leave,
never taken sick leave and yet
it's really obvious they're ill.
Or if their dress sense changes
and they're wearing
really long-sleeved jumpers
on a really hot day,
you've got to ask yourself why.
I learnt how to put make-up on
so that it would hide, you know,
really big bruises.
The police basically said,
"You're quite bright."
"What are you doing
in the situation?"
I'm like, "Well, get him out for me
and I won't be in the situation."
If I wouldn't have spoken out,
I could easily have been dead now,
and I don't say that lightly.
My son could have been
killed or injured.
You know, I want employers
that they can have
a really important part to play.
But we've got a duty of care
but it's also recognising
you know, staff are
your best resource you've got.
And if one hour of paid time
with a solicitor or in a safety unit
actually saves their life,
it's got to be worth it.
For what you're going to get back,
it's got to be worth it.
EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Why is action needed in the workplace?
- Every year in the UK at least 3 million women experience violence.
- Domestic abuse currently costs UK businesses over £1.9 billion a year.
- 75% of women that experience domestic abuse are targeted at work – from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced, to physical assaults.
What can employers do?
We are encouraging employers to take action so that skilled and experienced staff are able to retain their jobs and feel safe and supported in the workplace.
- Violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence duty: guidance for developing an effective workplace policy - download in English (PDF) | Welsh (PDF)
- CIPD and EHRC guidance 'Managing and supporting staff experiencing domestic abuse'
- Top ten tips for employers
- Bridget’s story – the business case for having a policy
- Our business transcript
Last updated: 02 Dec 2016