We spoke with Paul Quinlan, Associate Director of the Talent Team at Ernst & Young about their experience working with Hestia's Everyone's Business Programme. 

We first started actively looking at how we could support employees impacted by domestic abuse in 2018. After doing some initial research, we quickly realised that, in order to make meaningful changes, we needed to seek external advice and support.  

That’s when we first came across Hestia and others working in this area. Through our work with these organisations we’ve been able to access a programme of support which included having an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA), who can offer specialist support to our staff. We also implemented a training programme for our internal HR team and, in late 2018, were one of the first employers to offer one week’s paid leave to those impacted by domestic abuse. I’m proud to say that we recently increased this to two weeks’ leave.

Following the launch of the programme, we’ve supported more than 50 cases related to domestic abuse. Our focus is on ensuring that people receive a smooth and speedy process when they reach out for help, so they are able to access expert advice quickly and safely. Given the range of different types of domestic abuse that someone can experience – from economic abuse to abuse post-separation - it’s important that we can offer an individual, confidential and free service to our people.

Although I think some people are still reluctant to disclose abuse to an employer, it’s important that when they do, they get the right response. Through our work with Hestia we understand how abuse might be behind someone’s absence or underperformance at work. We now know how to ask questions sensitively and in a way that will help an employee feel comfortable talking to us.

We continue to look at what else we can do to enhance the level of support we’re able to provide. As an employer that cares about its people, I think offering this support is a very important part of who we are.

Everyone’s Business works with employers so that they can provide information, resources and practical guidance to employees who have experienced domestic abuse. When employers take action and respond to domestic abuse we know it saves lives. 

If you are an organisation interested in joining the Everyone’s Business programme, take a look at our The Everyone’s Business Offer page, or register your interest by filling in this form. To find out more about Everyone's Business and what support packages are available, download our brochure

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