Domestic Violence and the Workplace
It is important to promote the understanding that everyone has the right to a life free from abuse in any form. Domestic violence is wholly unacceptable and inexcusable behaviour and responsibility for domestic violence lies with the perpetrator. At the Co-op we strive to create a working environment that promotes the view that violence against people is unacceptable.
For the purposes of this policy, domestic violence is defined as "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. It is acknowledged that whilst it is usually women who experience domestic violence, this policy and guidance applies equally to men who require advice or help.
a) Providing information / creating awareness
The Co-op intends to publish and maintain supporting material for line managers and HR together with a list of resources for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
b) Providing support to victims
The Co-op intends to make support available to employees involved in domestic violence. We will provide support through HR and our Employee Assistance Programme. The Co-op intends to provide access to support for those individuals experiencing domestic violence. This could include time off work to attend meetings or counselling sessions. Each case would need to be discussed with the individuals’ line manager and HR representative.
c) Providing support to perpetrators
It is recognised that perpetrators of domestic violence may wish to seek help voluntarily. We intend to provide access to support for those individuals. This could include time off work to attend meetings or counselling sessions. Each case would need to be discussed with the individuals’ line manager and HR representative.
d) Providing training
We'll develop a programme of training to raise awareness of domestic violence and understanding of this policy and guidance. HR staff will be trained to support managers in:
- Identifying if an employee is experiencing difficulties
- Providing initial support
- Offering referrals
- Discussing ways to help the person stay safe in the workplace
- Understanding that they are not counsellors. Counselling is to be left to trained professionals and no one should attempt to act in place of a domestic violence expert or counsellor. The best thing a manager can do is to refer the person to the appropriate domestic violence resources.
e) Scope of policy
The policy applies across the whole of The Co-operative Group
We will not discriminate against anyone who has been subjected to domestic violence in terms of his or her existing employment or career development. We're aware that domestic violence victims may have performance problems such as chronic absenteeism or lower productivity as a result of domestic violence. When addressing performance and safety issues, we'll make reasonable efforts to consider all aspects of the employee’s situation and / or safety problems.
b) Absence options for employees experiencing Domestic Violence
We'll make every effort to assist an employee experiencing domestic violence (this extends to those perpetrators who are committed to seeking professional help). If an employee needs to be absent from work due to domestic violence, in consultation the individual, the HR representative and the line manager (where appropriate) will agree how best to address the situation.
c) Safety at work
At the Co-op we do our best to ensure the safety of our employees. We will actively provide support to employees to try and minimise the risk to their safety while at work, if they make it known to us that they are experiencing domestic violence.
d) Providing support for employees
We intend to make support available to employees involved in domestic violence (including those perpetrators committed to seeking professional help). We will provide support through line managers, HR and the Employee Assistance Programme. Their role is to:
- Be available and approachable for those employees experiencing domestic violence
- To listen, reassure and support individuals
- To keep information confidential (subject to the requirements of child and adult protection)
- To respond in a sensitive and non-judgemental manner
- To discuss the specific steps that can be taken to help this person stay safe in the workplace
- To ensure the employee is aware of the options available to them
- To encourage the employee to seek the advice of other relevant agencies by calling 0808 200 0247, the Freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge or the Employee Assistance Programme on: UK 0800 970 1030 (Outside UK: +44 141 271 7543), Mobile: 0330 332 9996 (from mobiles with free contract minutes), Minicom: 0800 039 7879 (+44 141 271 7189), Online at Validium.com username: Coop / password: Group1844