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Business Minister Paul Scully has today (January 14) issued an open letter to all employers across the country, urging them to build awareness of domestic abuse.

In the open letter to all UK employers, the Business Minister has outlined key steps that employers can take to ensure they notice warning signs of domestic abuse and can help their workers access necessary support.

Warning signs include changes in a person’s behaviour, a sudden drop in performance, mentions of controlling or coercive behaviour in partners, or physical signs such as bruising.

The open letter comes amid the government’s final report from its Review into Workplace Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse, which was launched in June to collect evidence on what more both employers and the government can do to try and tackle domestic abuse.

The report found that a lack of awareness of warning signs, stigma around talking about domestic abuse in the workplace, and a lack of knowledge about specialist services is preventing domestic abuse survivors getting the help they need in the workplace.

In light of these findings, Mr Scully today announced plans to consult on the steps that can be taken so survivors can better exercise their existing employment rights, such as the right to request flexible working.

The government also plans to establish a working group including employers, representatives of domestic abuse victims and trade unions to convene regularly to establish practical solutions.

Business Minister Paul Scully said: “For too long, a lack of awareness and stigma around speaking about domestic abuse has stopped workplaces from putting in place the kind of help that survivors so desperately need.

“I know from personal experience that both bosses and colleagues are in a unique position to help spot the signs of domestic abuse and ensure survivors get the support they need so they no longer have to suffer in silence.

“That doesn’t mean making employers into counsellors or healthcare workers, but the actions I’ve outlined today – which can be as simple as providing a safe space to talk – can have a life-changing impact on survivors.”

Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins added: “Domestic abuse is a devastating crime which shatters lives.

“It is incredibly important that everyone works together to tackle this horrific crime, and that includes employers – whether that is supporting survivors in the workplace, ensuring staff know how to spot signs of abuse, or assisting victims in seeking help they need. Many employers are already supporting their staff who are experiencing domestic abuse in practical ways and we want this to become “business as usual” for all employers.

“We have built on this relationship between retailers and the public through the development of the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme. From today, those at risk or suffering from domestic abuse can discreetly signal to trained workers at participating pharmacies that they need help in accessing support.”

Further information can be found  here:

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