Domestic abuse: BEIS report and Acas guidance


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BEIS published a report on 14 January on improving workplace support for victims of domestic abuse. Meanwhile Acas has published advice for employers on how to support staff who are experiencing domestic abuse.

The BEIS report, 'Workplace support for victims of domestic abuse', makes observations about the nature of domestic abuse and the importance of work and the workplace for victims.  It also notes how abusers can intrude on their victims' working lives.  In addition the report looks at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic abuse when, for many people, their home has become their workplace.  It also looks at the definition of domestic abuse, and outlines three aspects of help for victims, namely employers being able to identify instances of domestic abuse affecting their staff; the positive role that employers can play in providing support and access to specialist services; and the role of employment rights, in particular flexible working.

Following the publication of the BEIS report, Acas announced new advice for employers on how to support staff who are experiencing domestic abuse.  It has updated its guidance, 'Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic', to include a section on domestic violence and abuse.

Acas suggests that employers should look out for signs of domestic abuse, respond appropriately, support someone who is experiencing domestic abuse and keep a record of when employees report domestic abuse and any actions taken.  The guidance suggests practical steps open to employers such as introducing a domestic abuse policy and providing training to managers.

In the meantime, the Business Minister, Paul Scully MP, has published an open letter calling on all UK employers to take practical steps to raise awareness of domestic abuse.  The CIPD and EHRC have published a guide recommending that employers have a clear policy in place to support employees and a framework of support.
 
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