1 in 3 employees have experienced domestic abuse during the past 12 months.

Employers have a unique role to play in responding to domestic abuse – it can happen to anyone and it is everyone’s business.

Hestia’s Everyone’s Business Programme supports employers to put in place a robust and well-rounded response to domestic abuse and sexual violence for employees.

Simon had been suffering at the hands of his wife who was abusive and violent towards him. Feeling fearful and anxious about how things were at home he found it too hard to speak to anyone. Until one day Simon saw a poster at work advertising our service.

I was married for ten years but during that time my wife was abusive and violent towards me. She used to drink a lot and this would make her even more violent. After every attack she would blame the alcohol, telling me how sorry she was and that it would never happen again. For a few days all would be calm again but then I would spot the tell-tale signs that tension was building. Sometimes my wife would begin slapping me if she felt I wasn’t listening to her. On other occasions she would kick and punch me, and grab objects to hit me with.

I tried to take my own life twice because of the abuse. I felt my family would be better off without me.

I felt very ashamed and less than a man. She told me it was all my fault, that I was a ‘useless’ husband and father. The longer the abuse went on the harder it was to do anything about it.

I tried to take my own life twice because of the abuse. I felt my family would be better off without me. During one attack, my wife stabbed me in the arm but I managed to leave the house and ring 999 before collapsing. I woke up in hospital with no memory of how I got there.

It was during this incredibly difficult time that I saw a poster at work for the Everyone’s Business Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) service. I was so unhappy and felt very fearful and anxious at the end of every day because I knew I had to go home. I found it too hard to speak to anyone at work or to my friends about what I was going through.

My IDVA was so supportive, especially as I was in the very early stages of separating from my wife and it was very difficult. We focused on safety planning, getting a non-molestation order and putting other protective measures in place. The IDVA worked with the housing team at my local council so that I could find a safe place to live and be able to spend time with my children.

In time, they also supported me through the Family Courts so that I could see my children and spend significant time with them. They have also helped me to access a talking therapy service, so that I can process the trauma of the last few years and recover emotionally.

Our team offers training, support with policy development, consultation, and bespoke tailored support packages for your employees from our expert team of domestic abuse and sexual violence specialists.

When employers take action and respond to #domesticabuse, we know it saves lives. It is vital that every employee can access specialist domestic abuse support.

If you are an employer looking for advice on how to respond to a disclosure of domestic abuse from an employee, or looking for other advice and guidance around supporting employees affected by domestic abuse, contact the Respond to Abuse Advice Line for free on 0203 879 3695 or via email [email protected] between 8am-5pm Monday to Friday for support.

Data sources: ONS, 2019; Vodafone Foundation, 2021; Home Office, 2019; Home Office, 2022.