Charity launches free domestic abuse advice line for businesses

Thursday 3rd September 2020

A new advice line for businesses supporting employees experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse has been launched by domestic abuse charity Hestia.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime and with 10 per cent of UK victims reporting abuse at work.[i]

Funded by the Home Office, the Everyone’s Business Advice Line will be a point of contact for businesses, supporting them on how to approach disclosures of domestic abuse by their employees, particularly in light of Covid-19. They will also receive advice so that they can signpost staff to specialist domestic abuse services.

Hestia says lockdown has shown that home is not always safe for everyone, and with more people working remotely due to Covid-19, cases of domestic abuse are rising. The charity saw a 47 per cent increase in victims reaching out for information and support on its free domestic abuse app, Bright Sky.

While over 2.4 million people are affected by domestic abuse every year,[ii] it can be difficult for employers to recognise the signs and support those experiencing domestic abuse in their organisation. Hestia launched the Everyone’s Business programme to increase awareness and support in the workplace and have worked with over 70 organisations from the Metropolitan Police to Balfour Beatty.

Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins said:

“Domestic abuse affects people in all parts of the economy, and employers can play a crucial role in helping staff who are victims of this appalling crime.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into focus the need for victims to have as many sources of support as possible. 

We are proud to be funding Hestia to provide a new employers’ domestic abuse advice line which will help employers support their colleagues at this critical time.”

Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of Everyone’s Business Advice Line at Hestia said:

"Lockdown has meant victims have been away from their place of work, in isolation with their abusers, often with no way to seek support. Now, as more people return to their place of work, employers have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse.

By providing a free advice line that offers guidance, employers will be able to help their employees and direct them to practical support. When employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, we know it saves lives. For too long domestic abuse has been nobody’s business and it is time it becomes everyone’s business."

Elizabeth Filkin, Chair, Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse said:

“Members of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse believe that domestic abuse is everyone’s business, and that employers have a critical role to play in supporting those affected. Covid-19 and lockdown have made it more difficult for businesses to know how their staff are doing, and with a full return to the office being unlikely, it is not always easy to know what to do when domestic abuse is suspected, so having the Everyone’s Business Advice Line available to support and guide HR professionals and managers is a very valuable resource.”

Susan Bright, Global Managing Partner for Diversity & Inclusion and Responsible Business at Hogan Lovells, said:

“Domestic abuse can have devastating consequences, and leave people faced with impossible life choices. Employers have an important role to play in supporting their employees, particularly this year and during the pandemic. We welcome the launch of the new advice line and hope that it will ease some of the pressure on those who are vulnerable.”

A survivor of domestic abuse said: 

“When my employer started working with Hestia, it was a turning point. This was my last resort to get help. I met with their Independent Domestic Violence Advocate and talked about my experience. It was the first time I felt believed. It was like a weight had been lifted. Without this service, I don’t know what would have happened. It is vital that businesses can provide this type of service. I want to tell anyone who is in the same situation I was in that talking to someone can make so much difference - speak to your employer.”

-ENDS-


Contact:

Josh Mclean | [email protected]| 07845 555 995

Notes to editor

To access the Everyone’s Business Advice Line

Call 07770480437 | 0203 8793695

Email [email protected]

Open 10am-3pm, Monday to Friday

For more information and the contact details, visit Everyone's Business

About Hestia: 

At Hestia we support adults and children in times of crisis. For 50 years we have been delivering services, as well as campaigning and advocating nationally on the issues that affect the people we work with. From giving someone a home, to helping them to get the right mental health support, we support people at the moment of crisis and enable them to build a life beyond crisis.

Hestia is one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London and one of the largest organisations supporting victims of modern slavery in the UK. We are proud to be the home of UK SAYS NO MORE, a national campaign to end domestic abuse which launched the ground breaking Safe Spaces initiatives.

As part of Hestia’s work, we launched Everyone’s Business to provide employers with the right resources to recognise and prevent domestic abuse, including digital tools such as the free Bright Sky app. When employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, we know it saves lives.

About Everyone’s Business:  

Everyone’s Business works with employers so that they can provide information, resources and practical guidance to employees who are experiencing domestic abuse. Our programme provides the necessary tools so employers can support employees and provide safe solutions. We know that when employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, it saves lives.

Since the programme launched, Everyone’s Business has supported over 60 employers and reached over 240,000 employees with advice on domestic abuse. 

[i] TUC, (2014), Domestic Violence and the Workplace: A TUC Survey Report, London: Trades Union Congress.

[ii] Office for National Statistics, Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2019 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwalesoverview/november2019